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September 14, 2021 | International, C4ISR

La rapidité du traitement de données, clé des combats aériens futurs

Le Figaro a recueilli les propos du général Lavigne, chef d'état-major de l'armée de l'Air et de l'Espace (CEMAAE), récemment nommé commandant suprême «Transformation» de l’OTAN, ainsi que du général Brown, chef d’état-major de l’US Air Force. Les deux généraux ont confié leur vision du futur des conflits armés, qui implique « rapidité » et « imbrication » accrues. Que ce soit dans des zones soumises à un « déni d’accès » compte tenu de l’étendue des défenses sol-air, ou dans un conflit de « haute intensité », l’aviation « aura toujours un rôle clé à jouer », insiste le général Lavigne. « Nous devons être prêts individuellement, technologiquement supérieurs et certains d’aller plus vite que nos adversaires», ajoute-t-il, avant d’indiquer: « nous devons travailler notre boucle OODA (Observer, Orienter, Décider, Agir) ». En compressant toujours plus les quatre temps de la tactique militaire, les armées occidentales ont progressivement acquis une supériorité sur leurs adversaires. Mais dans des armées toujours plus technologiques, l’enjeu se complexifie. « Nous devons gérer les données plus rapidement », souligne le général Lavigne. 

Le Figaro du 14 septembre 

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  • Build a fleet, not a constituency

    May 12, 2020 | International, Naval

    Build a fleet, not a constituency

    By: Bryan Clark and Timothy A. Walton The U.S. Navy’s long-awaited award of a contract to design and build a new class of frigates has brought with it calls to dramatically expand the planned class of 20 ships to a fleet of 70 or more hulls. Like recent congressional efforts to build more of today’s amphibious ships or destroyers, these recommendations risk putting the Navy on an unsustainable path and could fail to influence Chinese or Russian adversaries the U.S. fleet is intended to help deter. The Navy clearly needs guided-missile frigates. By bringing comparable capability with less capacity, frigates will provide a less expensive alternative to Arleigh Burke destroyers that are the mainstay of today’s U.S. surface fleet. Freed of the requirement to conduct almost every surface combatant operation, destroyers would have more time to catch up on maintenance and training or be available to conduct missions demanding their greater missile capacity like Tomahawk missile strikes or ballistic missile defense. However, the frigate’s size — less than a destroyer, more than a littoral combat ship or corvette — also limits its ability to support U.S. Navy wartime operations. Frigates like the Franco-Italian FREMM can conduct the full range of European navy operations such as local air defense, maritime security and anti-submarine warfare, or ASW. But the American FREMM variant will not have enough missile capacity for large or sustained attacks like those conducted by the U.S. Navy during the last several years in the Middle East, or like those that would be likely in a conflict with China. And although they could defend a nearby ship from air attack, the planned U.S. frigates could not carry enough longer-range surface-to-air interceptors to protect U.S. carrier and amphibious groups, or bases and population centers ashore. Proponents argue frigates’ capacity limitations could be mitigated by buying more of them, better enabling distributed maritime operations and growing naval presence in underserved areas like the Caribbean and Arctic. In a post-COVID-19 employment environment, accelerating frigate construction could also create jobs by starting production at additional shipyards. Although they cost about $1 billion each to buy, the money to buy more frigates — at least initially — could be carried in the wave of post-pandemic economic recovery spending. But after a few years, that spigot will likely run dry, leaving the Navy to decide whether to continue spending about half the cost of a destroyer for a ship that has only a third as many missiles and cannot conduct several surface warfare missions. The more significant fiscal challenge with buying more frigates is owning them. Based on equivalent ships, each frigate is likely to cost about $60 million annually to operate, crew and maintain. That is only about 25 percent less than a destroyer. For the U.S. Navy, which is already suffering manning shortages and deferring maintenance, fielding a fleet of 70 frigates in addition to more than 90 cruisers and destroyers will likely be unsustainable. Instead of simply building more frigates to create jobs and grow the Navy, Department of Defense leaders should determine the overall number and mix of ships it needs and can afford within realistic budget constraints. The secretary of defense recently directed such an effort, which continues despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This commentary’s authors are participating in the study. As recommended in a recent study, instead of buying more frigates to expand the fleet’s capacity, the Navy would be better served by adding missile-equipped corvettes like those in European or Asian navies. These ships could carry as many missiles as the Navy’s planned frigate but would not incorporate capabilities for area air defense or ASW. The smaller size and reduced capability of corvettes would reduce their sticker price to about one-third that of a frigate, and their sustainment cost to about a quarter that of destroyers. The lower price for corvettes would allow more of them to be built and deployed, where they could team with other surface forces to provide additional missile magazines that could be reloaded by rotating corvettes to rear areas. In peacetime, corvettes would enable the Navy to expand presence and maritime security to underserved regions and provide more appropriate platforms for training and cooperation. Frigates will still be needed, even with a new corvette joining the U.S. fleet. Frigates would replace destroyers in escort operations to protect civilian and noncombatant ships, like supply vessels. They would also conduct maritime security operations in places such as the Persian Gulf or South China Sea, where piracy, trafficking and paramilitary attacks occur. Most importantly, frigates would lead ASW operations, where their towed sonar systems could be more capable than the systems used by current destroyers. Although ASW is an important naval mission, buying more frigates than planned to expand the Navy’s ASW capacity is unnecessary and counterproductive. The Navy could gain more ASW capacity at lower cost and with less risk to manned ships by complementing its planned 20 frigates with unmanned systems including fixed sonars like SOSUS, deployable sonar systems that sit on the ocean floor, unmanned surface vessels that tow sonars and trail submarines, and unmanned aircraft that can deploy and monitor sonobuoys or attack submarines to suppress their operations or sink them. The U.S. Navy is at the beginning of a period of dramatic change. New technologies for autonomy, sensing, weapons and networking are enabling new concepts for naval missions at the same time fiscal constraints and pressure from great power competitors are making traditional approaches to naval operations obsolete or unsustainable. The Navy’s frigate award is a great start toward the future fleet, but the Navy needs to take advantage of this opportunity and assess the best mix of ships to field the capabilities it needs within the resources it is likely to have. Bryan Clark is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, where Timothy A. Walton works as a fellow.

  • New in 2019: Here’s what the Air Force is doing about aviation mishaps

    January 7, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    New in 2019: Here’s what the Air Force is doing about aviation mishaps

    By: Kyle Rempfer The Air Force, like the other services, suffered a string of fatal aviation mishaps in 2018. A Military Times in-depth review of 5,500 aviation accidents that have occurred since 2013 found that accidents among the nation’s manned fighters, bombers, tankers, tilt-rotor and helicopter aircraft has increased 39 percent. In the Air Force, the most serious Class A mishaps have declined, but the number of non-fatal Class C mishaps is increasing, causing some experts to warn that future problems could be on the horizon if the issue is not dealt with. To address concerns among the aviation community, Congress created an eight-person independent commission to review the mishap spike in the 2019 defense bill. For its part, the Air Force conducted a wave of one-day safety stand-downs of flying and maintenance wings over the summer. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein ordered the stand-down in May, after several high-profile mishaps, including the May 2 crash of a WC-130 Hercules and the March 15 loss of an HH-60G Pave Hawk in western Iraq, both of which killed all on board. In a September news release, the Air Force said their review of the data identified six potential risks to aviation safety: stress caused by high operations tempos; a lack of time to properly focus on flying basics, mission activities and training; pressure to accept risk; a culture that pushes airmen to always execute the mission; decreased availability of aircraft; and the potential for airmen to become complacent when carrying out routine tasks. “The review proved tremendously helpful as we continue to seek both high levels of safety with intense and realistic training," Goldfein said in the release. The full report summary, provided at Air Force Times' request, also raised concerns about the increasing requirements on maintainers, and low experience among some maintenance personnel. The service has distributed those findings to the field, according to the release. The findings will help flying and maintenance leaders guide their decisions. “We’re taking necessary steps to ensure our airmen operate as safely as possible in an inherently dangerous business,” Goldfein said. “I want to train hard and I want commanders to push themselves and their airmen to achieve high levels of readiness. Sometimes the right answer is knock it off ... sometimes it is push it up. Confidence in the air, safety on the ground and in the air, it’s a commander’s business.” The summary also cites the aging fleet of Air Force aircraft as a problem contributing to increased maintenance requirements and decreased aircraft availability. The Air Force has already started putting plans into place to address airmen’s concerns, including adding more support back to squadrons, reducing additional duties, “enhancing information processes for aircrew mission planning” and cutting staff requirements, according to the release.

  • UK Ministry of Defence orders more than 500 Boxers in €2.6 billion contract

    November 8, 2019 | International, Land

    UK Ministry of Defence orders more than 500 Boxers in €2.6 billion contract

    November 8, 2019 - The Artec consortium, led by Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), has signed a contract with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to produce more than 500 Boxer 8x8-wheeled armoured vehicles for the British Army. The total current value of the order is approximately €2.6 billion (£2.3 billion). The contract has been awarded to Artec via the European procurement agency Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR). The contract awarded to Artec falls under the UK’s Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) procurement programme and includes more than 500 vehicles. Artec will each sub-contract 50% of the order volume to Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. The total number of Boxer vehicles already delivered by Artec or currently on order now exceeds 1,400 vehicles. The Boxer vehicles ordered by the British Army will be supplied in several different configurations, including an armoured personnel carrier, command vehicle, specialist carrier and field ambulance. Delivery of the vehicles is expected to start from 2023. Most of the production will take place in the UK, ¬safeguarding and creating a substantial number of British jobs. Full-scale production will begin in Germany, but 90% of the Boxer vehicles destined for the British Army will be produced in the UK, principally at plants operated by Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) and KMW’s subsidiary WFEL. This order marks the return of the UK to a European defence programme having taken part in the Boxer project when it was still in its infancy. Boxer is now on its way to becoming one of NATO’s standard vehicles. A modular vehicle – versatile, tried and tested The Boxer is a highly protective 8x8-wheeled armoured vehicle. Its modular architecture enables more operational configurations than any other vehicle system. At present, some 700 vehicles in twelve different versions are on order from three different NATO nations: Germany, the Netherlands and Lithuania. Australia has also ordered 211 Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRV) in seven variants, the first of which was recently delivered. Artec GmbH was established in 1999. It is a joint venture of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH & Co. KG, Rheinmetall Military Vehicles GmbH, and Rheinmetall Defence Nederland B.V.. The company coordinates serial production of the Boxer and serves as the point of contact for export enquiries. View source version on Rheinmetall Military Vehicles GmbH:

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