How many projects I know nothing. Hundreds. "Marko Erman is Director of research and technology of Thales systems land and joint, the smallest of the divisions of the group. "Unlike activities, such as the naval or the air, we have few major projects, but multiple small for multiple clients, he says." This implies a handle very fine things. "This implies also, a division which employs 4,200 researchers (25,000 for the entire group), the promotion of know-how. This is the reason for the Technoday operation. This event, which takes place every year, has a vocation of technology showcase at destination of the customers and employees.
End of January, are sixty projects thus presented to visitors. Objective: stick to the market. Because, in this area, Thales has the bitter taste of defeat after missing a few years ago the contract Felin, aimed at the holding of the fighter of the future for the French Army ("Les Echos" of March 24, 2004). CEO of Thales, Denis Ranque, had admitted at the time that the needs of the client had not sufficiently taken into account.
Because modern warfare is complex, particularly with conventional conflicts, the emergence of asymmetric conflict, i.e. those where the hyperÃ©quipÃ©es armies fighting troops to rudimentary, but often effective equipment. "Contrary to what one might believe, if the solutions to meet these two types of conflicts are sometimes different, the technological level is often equivalent", insists Marko Erman.
This is exactly the case of system simov, kind of concept as prefiguring the armoured in the future. These include test a new approach, called "transparent armour". The vehicle has no opening to the outside, but it is equipped with multiple cameras. And the Interior of the armoured is covered with screens allowing occupants to know always what is happening outside. In operation Technoday, a demonstration showed the vehicle patrolling in the middle of a city, probably in the Middle East, in which the snipers were likely to hide behind each House.
During the demonstration of simov, the tank must observe the progress of a potentially hostile demonstration. Inside, through computerization of all commands, the positions of the various members of crew (pilot or observer) are interchangeable. As the amount of information transmitted is increasing with the proliferation of sensors and cameras, ergonomics became one of the key aspects. The extensive computerization to improve communication in the tank, but with other vehicles and command. It is the realization of the network war.
For a good part of the projects submitted, the partnership becomes essential. It is classic long in defence, where manufacturers rely on technology dual, that is used both in military and civilian worlds. "Military technologies where necessary and civil technologies each time it is possible," summarizes Marko Erman. This is the case with the demonstration of simov, which operates the professional version of a consumer software usually used... for the creation of video games: VBS, developed by Bohemia Interactive.
The Group expected much of its collaboration in several competitiveness clusters, for example program InfoMagic conducted in Cap Digital, specializing in digital content. As the information management promises to be more and more essential in conflict. One of the applications is a software of assistance to the decision, the geopolitical Atlas, expert systems and the use of information from multiple sources.
The partnership is sometimes involved with the users themselves. This was the case for the development of a system for avoiding fire fratricide between aircraft combat and ground troops, to the point with the air force. The trick was to use in the opposite direction the transponder, element embedded in all fighter aircraft used to give the position of the aircraft.
Things are sometimes much further, as in the case of a new system of telecommunications by radio, Flexnet, developed with the American Rockwell Collins one of the biggest competitors of Thales. Not only it is a product designed for the US Army, "but he had to move quickly and our know-how were quite complementary", explains one of the leaders of this project.