Welcome to “Allied Fighting”: The Army is entering a new era where networking of all troops and equipment at the risk of new technological vulnerabilities must multiply their strengths.
The “other way of fighting” behind the unrealistic notion of “system of systems” or “operational bubble”, “connection-centric” emerges in ways employed beyond their own capabilities, explains a high-ranking Frenchman obsessed without naming names.
At the heart of the collaborative struggle is the sharing of data and information. “We are moving from a mode of operation in Silo to a horizontal and vertical operation where we give the soldier, regardless of his level, the ability to provide information, to make decisions,” explained Cyril Dujardin, Atos’ digital security boss. On the occasion of Eurosatari, the main international military exhibition held north of Paris this week.
The French computer giant provided SICS to the French forces, an information system embedded in a new generation of French armored vehicles (Griffon, Jaguar, Cerval) as part of the Scorpion program.
The positions of the friendly forces are indicated in real time and the orders sent through this terminal are equipped with both the command post and the platoon leader in his vehicle.
“Today, centering on vehicles, the idea is to integrate the infantry, to disseminate information more widely for a better understanding of the strategic situation,” explained Delphien (French), General Engineer (IGA) of Armament. The Army forbids the disclosure of the titles of its members), the architect of future land warfare systems in the General Directorate of Armaments (DGA).
The concept of a connected battlefield sprouted in 1999. “You had to be brave to see what mobile telephony and the internet were like at the time,” said the high-ranking Frenchman. “It delivered the Scorpion weapons program in 2019 with the first delivery, it took 20 years.”
According to the French industrialist, the program allowed France to be a pioneer and today “5 to 10 years ahead in the cooperative fight” compared to countries other than the United States.
“But Scorpio is the prehistoric thing we want for 2040: an interconnected joint battlefield”, according to the senior officer.
The Future Air Combat System (Scaf) as well as its land equivalent, the Franco-German MGCS, should see the light of day on this horizon.
– Avoid “Infobacity” –
In the long run, sensors in vehicles, for example, need to be allowed to automatically detect triangular and therefore enemy forces through communication. A drone that identifies an enemy tank can send its position in a well-equipped tank to destroy it.
“For the time being, we are only displaying information, the idea being to switch to a prescriptive and predictive collaborative fight depending on the ground situation,” Cyril Dujardin said.
All this requires strong means of communication. Defense and technology group Thales must begin delivering 25,000 communications software radios ordered by the French military by 2023, and by the end of 2022 provide NATO with the first example of an “applicable cloud” system.
Specifically, it will be possible to manage all the IT of a NATO command post in a theater in “Cloud” mode, that is, by allowing the computing and storage resources of the servers present on the site.
In the face of all this technology, the risk of “infobacity” awaits It is therefore necessary to ensure that the operator only receives what is required for its mission and observes “communication is more economical”, IGA Delphine.
It is also a question of considering the risk of jamming widely used during the conflict in Ukraine.
When a radio frequency is jammed, automated processes already make it possible to switch to other frequencies.
We need a “network mesh”, if a link is cut, we go through another node “, we observe in Airbus.
And provide for “degraded mode” operation. For this, a track that will lead to plans to inject artificial intelligence into network management by about 2025. In the event of a hassle associated with jamming, they will be able to reconfigure themselves to prioritize the most needed data flow.