Phoenix 2: Successful testing by Thales

Thales has suc­cess­ful­ly com­plet­ed the test­ing of new deploy­ment sce­nar­ios for com­bat iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and safe fir­ing sys­tems in the frame­work of field tests car­ried out at the Mourmel­on camp (Marne depart­ment of France) for the Phoenix 2 upstream study pro­gram (PEA) of the French Defence Pro­cure­ment Agency (DGA). The objec­tive of Phoenix 2 is to pro­vide the armed forces with effi­cient respons­es that are both quick to imple­ment and cost-effec­tive, and it con­tributes to the devel­op­ment of cur­rent and future land force programs. 

Phoenix 2 upstream study program (PEA)
Source: Thales

Recent events in the­atres of oper­a­tions have demon­strat­ed that there are still too many blue and blue fires. It is vital to be able to iden­ti­fy on the ground ele­ments belong­ing to your own unit or sec­tion, as well as those of friendly/hostile forces in the frame­work of inter-ally or inter-armed forces operations. 

A par­tic­u­lar objec­tive of the Phoenix 2 tests, which took place between Octo­ber 1 — 7, 2010 at Mourmel­on, was to eval­u­ate the tech­ni­cal solu­tions enabling “friend­ly” sit­u­a­tion sta­tus exchanges between ground units or with air­crafts. This infor­ma­tion should help lim­it the num­ber of blue and blue fires and col­lat­er­al dam­age, be forces con­ven­tion­al, spe­cial, air force or navy. 

The Phoenix 2 tests have made it pos­si­ble to val­i­date the tech­no­log­i­cal enhance­ments pro­posed by Thales, in the light of feed­back pro­vid­ed by the armed forces on the ground. The Thales solu­tions — Blue Force Track­ing (BFT), Reverse IFF, SATURN secure com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Data-Link 16 — have thus been able to demon­strate their oper­a­tional capability. 

The first tests were focused on the Blue Force Track­ing (BFT) solu­tion devel­oped by Thales. This solu­tion, which inte­grates the PR4GSOTAS com­mu­ni­ca­tion and ser­vices sys­tem pair­ing, allows all plat­forms on the ground to com­mu­ni­cate their posi­tions on the move and in real-time. The BFT ser­vice from Thales, based on the IP stan­dard, also offers the pos­si­bil­i­ty of instant­ly shar­ing the gath­ered data with allies. This ser­vice not only makes it pos­si­ble to have a more accu­rate view of the tac­ti­cal sit­u­a­tion, but also to accel­er­ate the deci­sion­mak­ing cycle and ensure the safe­ty of direct shoot­ing and support. 

The sec­ond batch of tests exam­ined the con­tri­bu­tion of air-to-ground iden­ti­fi­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies in the con­text of close air sup­port. To this end, Thales deployed, with the sup­port of the French Air Force, Spe­cial Forces and the French Army, its Reverse IFF along with SATURN secure com­mu­ni­ca­tions (TRA 6030 trans­ceiv­er) and Link 16 voice com­mu­ni­ca­tions and data exchange between sup­port air­craft and coor­di­na­tors on the ground (Com­mand & Con­trol Cen­tre, For­ward Air Con­troller, etc.). 

Reverse IFF, cur­rent­ly under­go­ing stan­dard­i­s­a­tion with NATO, responds to the coop­er­a­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion needs of France and the NATO coun­tries for close air sup­port oper­a­tions. Thanks to its sur­ro­gate capac­i­ty (response via sub­sti­tu­tion), it can link up with a ground posi­tion report­ing sys­tem in order to trans­mit the local tac­ti­cal sit­u­a­tion. With con­nec­tion to local tac­ti­cal net­works (BTID and RBSA net­works) hav­ing already been suc­cess­ful­ly demon­strat­ed in the inter­na­tion­al “Bold Quest” exer­cis­es, Thales took advan­tage of the Phoenix 2 test­ing to match up Reverse IFF with the BFT ser­vice. In this way, Thales has been able to demon­strate the oper­a­tional util­i­ty of this tech­nol­o­gy for avoid­ing air-to-ground­friend­ly fire inci­dents. Phoenix test­ing: prime oppor­tu­ni­ties for exchange between the indus­try and the armed forces 

Orga­nized by Thales, Sagem Défense Sécu­rité and the DGA for the ben­e­fit of the French Army, the Phoenix 2 PEA pro­gram draws on feed­back from the forces in the field with the pur­pose of sig­nif­i­cant­ly enhanc­ing the com­bat sys­tems of the French Army by means of rapid and acces­si­ble tech­no­log­i­cal improve­ments. The pre­vi­ous edi­tions of Phoenix have enabled exper­i­men­ta­tion with the sys­tems and equip­ments envis­aged for the army of the future in the frame­work of a Con­cept, Devel­op­ment & Exper­i­men­ta­tion (CD&E) approach, and to learn lessons about the coor­di­na­tion of sen­sors, tac­ti­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tions needs and how to con­duct tac­ti­cal situations. 

The results of the Phoenix test­ing pro­vide deci­sion-mak­ing aid to sup­ple­ment cur­rent stud­ies on how the mil­i­tary needs of future land forces are to be expressed. 


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