Collet-Billon On French Defense Strategy To 2019

By Amy Svitak
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

What about a PFI for next-generation milsatcom?

I do not know. Long-duration rent for the satellites is interesting. A company could provide us satellites and we could rent them for 10-15 years. They can also provide civilian services. Many companies can do that. It could be a very interesting competition with Eutelsat, Astrium, SES, Intelsat and, of course, Thales. But we are going to build new assets because we need a more evolved generation for specific military requirements. Anti-jamming, for example. We also need wide-band for intelligence, for video, for the welfare of the soldiers, and we do not intend to have a fully protected signal for that.

Will France build new military telecommunications satellites?

Continuity of service with Syracuse is sought. We need to replace Syracuse before 2020. It is coming very quickly. A defense core will be developed for our specific requirements for sure. We have to be clever because we know the needs of the British Defense Ministry; the Italian defense ministry is not on the same timescale. So we need a road map that other countries in Europe can agree upon.

What is the strategy for a medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) drone in France?

We are making progress. We sent the U.S. Air Force a letter of request, and we are awaiting the letter of acceptance. This is for a short-term delivery of two vehicles before the end of this year, followed by more operational systems of three vehicles each before 2020. And those first vehicles could be delivered by something like 2016.

Will you extend the Harfang UAV program?

Yes, we intend to extend the Harfang until 2016. We are waiting for a proposal from EADS on that subject.

Are you able to put European weapons or sensors on these Reaper drones to “Frenchify” them?

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