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Colonel Remi Pellabeuf:
Our aim is to "modernise to outperform our rivals in terms of power, agility and speed".

During the presentation at the Institut de hautes études de défense nationale, Colonel Rémi Pellabeuf, from the French Army Staff, gave a lecture entitled "Modern capabilities for combat: the French Army's project". Read the gist of his talk in 5 questions.

The specificity of the terrestrial environment?

On this subject, Colonel Rémi Pellabeuf describes the heterogeneous environment in which the Army operates: "It's a world of forests, towns and countryside that are cut off and partitioned by rivers, buildings, motorways, railways and hills. This heterogeneity is abrasive for the equipment and has an impact on the way operations are conducted. For equipment, this means having robust, versatile systems.

He goes on to talk about the second specificity of the terrestrial environment, which is characterised by a strong commitment to the environment. over time This means that for the French Army hardiness for our equipment and that we are capable d'endurance particularly in logistics. "All the more so as the operations are carried out with a large number of partners and most often take place in the midst of populations with different cultures, which requires a good understanding of the environment.

Lastly, the Army operates in a hostile environment, which means that it needs to have protection and resilience.

In conclusion, the land environment is complicated and the action that the army must take is made even more complex by the need for coordination: "A division is more than 10,000 mobile units (vehicles and helicopters) whose tactical effects must be controlled and made effective in a synchronised manoeuvre.

Why does the French Army need to modernise?

For the modernisation of the army, Colonel Rémi Pellabeuf evokes a strategic equation and that to do this, we need to be able to give an answer across three parameters.

1. The dialectic of sword and shield :

is the need to constantly improve the tools of attack and those of parry, so as not to be left behind by the potential enemy, so as not to be downgraded on the battlefield. Each power will seek to protect itself from the enemy's offensive weapons with its shield and revise its defensive weapons against its sword. Modernisation must therefore be continuous.

2. The changing context :

We moved from the Cold War to bipolarity, which was followed by the advent of American hyperpower and its challenge by international terrorism. Today we are in an era of the return of the uninhibited exercise of multilateral power, characterised in particular by the spread of technological innovation, most often driven by the private sphere.

3. The places where we must exercise earthly power :

On this subject, we are talking about three strategic areas: 1) national territory, which we must be able to protect; 2) the crisis arc (Africa, the Near and Middle East), where we must be able to manage the crisis; and 3) Europe, where we must be able to respond to a major conflict.

This ongoing process of modernising the army must enable it to maintain its operational superiority on the battlefield for the battles of today and tomorrow.

What are the trends on tomorrow's battlefield?

To refine the dialectic of sword and shield, Colonel Rémi Pellabeuf defines tomorrow's battlefield in terms of six major characteristics:

  • a wider battlefield, as a result of longer ranges. It can now extend from rear zones to the national territory. We need to be able to respond at long range;
  • a more contested battlefield by the growing power of weapons. We must be able to penetrate theatres of operation in the face of denial of access capabilities and to survive under threat;
  • a more transparent battlefield : Faced with increasingly sophisticated means of observation, we will have to be able to conceal ourselves, lure our enemy and hide our own intentions;
  • a more exposed battlefield : where you need to be able to combine mobility, protection and the possibility of aggression;
  • a more dynamic battlefield: Faced with the accelerated pace of the decision-making process, due to digitisation and connectivity, we need to be able to manage this complexity to guarantee the subsidiarity of the various levels. Connectivity must enable each hierarchical level to have a degree of autonomy in a given geographical area, while at the same time acting in a way that complements the rest of the resources deployed;
  • a more automated battlefield : due to the automation of weapons systems and robotics. We need to achieve the right level of automation.

What needs to be modernised in the army?

For Colonel Rémi Pellabeuf, the army in combat must be understood as a system of forces. It is an articulated organisation of interlocking, complementary and interdependent military capabilities. The aim is to combine their effects in a coherent way to achieve an operational objective. In this air-land force system, modernisation involves strengthening five major capabilities:

  • command capacity : a system itself based on communications, hierarchically tiered to enable complexity to be managed, to enable the effects of capabilities to be combined to guarantee subsidiarity. And in fineto enable interoperability with our allies;
  • an intelligence capability : to give us this transparency of the battlefield. We need to be able to see, understand and target our objectives. This requires observation, analysis and processing skills;
  • attack capability : the capacity for destruction and mobility on the battlefield, which includes tanks, infantry and guns, mines and bridges, and helicopters for air combat;
  • protection capacity : armour, camouflage, anti-drone, ground-air defence capabilities, CBRN defence;
  • logistical capacity : a refuelling, repair and health support capability.

How can we modernise the army?

On this subject, Colonel Rémi Pellabeuf reminds us of the need to : " build a long-term vision to anticipate changes in the strategic commitment context over the next twenty years. "To meet this need for anticipation, in 2016 the Land Staff published a document entitled " future ground action ". This prospective study defines eight factors of operational superiority that a force system must have to be capable of facing tomorrow's challenges: understanding, cooperation, agility, mass, endurance, mental strength, influence and command performance. The combination of these eight capabilities will enable land forces to make the most of promising technologies and prevail on the battlefield.

This long-term vision enables the Land Army to ensure cross-functional coherence, i.e. to build its operational capabilities over time by relying on successive milestones: " We have the joint battle group in 2021 and the joint brigade in 2023, so these are all milestones in the development of our capabilities.

The third axis of the army's modernisation involves the search for multiplier effects. This approach involves collaborative combat combined with work on robotics. This ambition is embodied in the Scorpion and Titan projects.

SCORPION is the first phase of modernisation, which will extend over this decade. The aim of this phase is to replace the middle segment of the army's armoured vehicles with new-generation vehicles capable of initiating the collaborative air-land combat.

TITAN is phase two of the army's modernisation, which will extend over the next decade, from 2030 to 2040. This stage will be marked by the renewal of the heavy segment and will extend collaborative combat to the joint and combined: "This twenty-year approach means that we can think about the contours and interfaces between all our capabilities from the outset, to ensure that they are consistent. Our aim is to outperform our rivals in terms of power, agility and speed.

Finally, two coherence efforts are being made in particular SYNERGIE for collaborative combat and VULCAIN for robotics.

First of all, it is a question of SYNERGIESCORPION to TITAN and ensure compatibility and continuity. Collaborative combat consists of networking tactical platforms and counters to understand and decide, to act and react individually and collectively faster and more effectively than the enemy. It enables greater synergy of tactical effects. SYNERGIE organises and paces the transformation of SIOCs in the gradual move towards collaborative combat to be able to upgrade the range of services on offer: friendly geolocation and tactical situation sharing, collaborative protection, collaborative observation, collaborative aggression and collaborative memory (making good use of the data recorded; e.g.: log route images to be compared with images of an ECL drone overflight ahead of the convoy to detect changes in the ground and the threat of mining).

The project VULCAIN on tactical robotics (drones and ground robots) is intended as a lIt is an effective tool that complements collaborative combat and must be integrated into it.. A veritable technological revolution is underway, and it is set to radically change the face of the battlefield, as the conflicts in the Levant, Nagorno-Karabakh and Ukraine have shown. VULCAIN's ambition is to design the robotic breakthrough today, and gradually build it tomorrow. The first phase (2021-2025) is already underway, and will identify military needs and develop a cross-functional robotics capability. A second phase will equip experimental units from 2025 onwards, with the aim of achieving true tactical robotics by 2040. In addition to robots, VULCAIN includes work on the drone grid which is a coherent and comprehensive framework, organised in complementary layers, and equips all those involved in air-land combat (from the dismounted soldier to the BIA).

During the presentation at the Institut de hautes études de défense nationale, Colonel Rémi Pellabeuf of the French Army Staff gave a lecture entitled "Modern capabilities for combat: the French Army's project".

The gist of his speech in 5 questions.

The specificity of the terrestrial environment?

On this subject, Colonel Rémi Pellabeuf describes the heterogeneous environment in which the Army operates: "It's a world of forests, towns and countryside that are cut off and partitioned by rivers, buildings, motorways, railways and hills. This heterogeneity is abrasive for the equipment and has an impact on the way operations are conducted. For equipment, this means having robust, versatile systems.

He goes on to talk about the second specificity of the terrestrial environment, which is characterised by a strong commitment to the environment. over time This means that for the French Army hardiness for our equipment and that we are capable d'endurance particularly in logistics. "All the more so as the operations are carried out with a large number of partners and most often take place in the midst of populations with different cultures, which requires a good understanding of the environment.

Lastly, the Army operates in a hostile environment, which means that it needs to have protection and resilience.

In conclusion, the land environment is complicated and the action that the army must take is made even more complex by the need for coordination: "A division is more than 10,000 mobile units (vehicles and helicopters) whose tactical effects must be controlled and made effective in a synchronised manoeuvre.

Why does the French Army need to modernise?

For the modernisation of the army, Colonel Rémi Pellabeuf evokes a strategic equation and that to do this, we need to be able to give an answer across three parameters.

1. The dialectic of sword and shield :

is the need to constantly improve the tools of attack and those of parry, so as not to be left behind by the potential enemy, so as not to be downgraded on the battlefield. Each power will seek to protect itself from the enemy's offensive weapons with its shield and revise its defensive weapons against its sword. Modernisation must therefore be continuous.

2. The changing context :

We moved from the Cold War to bipolarity, which was followed by the advent of American hyperpower and its challenge by international terrorism. Today we are in an era of the return of the uninhibited exercise of multilateral power, characterised in particular by the spread of technological innovation, most often driven by the private sphere.

3. The places where we must exercise earthly power :

On this subject, we are talking about three strategic areas: 1) national territory, which we must be able to protect; 2) the crisis arc (Africa, the Near and Middle East), where we must be able to manage the crisis; and 3) Europe, where we must be able to respond to a major conflict.

This ongoing process of modernising the army must enable it to maintain its operational superiority on the battlefield for the battles of today and tomorrow.

What are the trends on tomorrow's battlefield?

To refine the dialectic of sword and shield, Colonel Rémi Pellabeuf defines tomorrow's battlefield in terms of six major characteristics:

  • a wider battlefield, as a result of longer ranges. It can now extend from rear zones to the national territory. We need to be able to respond at long range;
  • a more contested battlefield by the growing power of weapons. We must be able to penetrate theatres of operation in the face of denial of access capabilities and to survive under threat;
  • a more transparent battlefield : Faced with increasingly sophisticated means of observation, we will have to be able to conceal ourselves, lure our enemy and hide our own intentions;
  • a more exposed battlefield : where you need to be able to combine mobility, protection and the possibility of aggression;
  • a more dynamic battlefield: Faced with the accelerated pace of the decision-making process, due to digitisation and connectivity, we need to be able to manage this complexity to guarantee the subsidiarity of the various levels. Connectivity must enable each hierarchical level to have a degree of autonomy in a given geographical area, while at the same time acting in a way that complements the rest of the resources deployed;
  • a more automated battlefield : due to the automation of weapons systems and robotics. We need to achieve the right level of automation.
What needs to be modernised in the army?

For Colonel Rémi Pellabeuf, the army in combat must be understood as a system of forces. It is an articulated organisation of interlocking, complementary and interdependent military capabilities. The aim is to combine their effects in a coherent way to achieve an operational objective. In this air-land force system, modernisation involves strengthening five major capabilities:

  • command capacity : a system itself based on communications, hierarchically tiered to enable complexity to be managed, to enable the effects of capabilities to be combined to guarantee subsidiarity. And in fineto enable interoperability with our allies;
  • an intelligence capability : to give us this transparency of the battlefield. We need to be able to see, understand and target our objectives. This requires observation, analysis and processing skills;
  • attack capability : the capacity for destruction and mobility on the battlefield, which includes tanks, infantry and guns, mines and bridges, and helicopters for air combat;
  • protection capacity : armour, camouflage, anti-drone, ground-air defence capabilities, CBRN defence;
  • logistical capacity : a refuelling, repair and health support capability.
What needs to be modernised in the army?

For Colonel Rémi Pellabeuf, the army in combat must be understood as a system of forces. It is an articulated organisation of interlocking, complementary and interdependent military capabilities. The aim is to combine their effects in a coherent way to achieve an operational objective. In this air-land force system, modernisation involves strengthening five major capabilities:

  • command capacity : a system itself based on communications, hierarchically tiered to enable complexity to be managed, to enable the effects of capabilities to be combined to guarantee subsidiarity. And in fineto enable interoperability with our allies;
  • an intelligence capability : to give us this transparency of the battlefield. We need to be able to see, understand and target our objectives. This requires observation, analysis and processing skills;
  • attack capability : the capacity for destruction and mobility on the battlefield, which includes tanks, infantry and guns, mines and bridges, and helicopters for air combat;
  • protection capacity : armour, camouflage, anti-drone, ground-air defence capabilities, CBRN defence;
  • logistical capacity : a refuelling, repair and health support capability.
How can we modernise the army?

On this subject, Colonel Rémi Pellabeuf reminds us of the need to : " build a long-term vision to anticipate changes in the strategic commitment context over the next twenty years. "To meet this need for anticipation, in 2016 the Land Staff published a document entitled " future ground action ". This prospective study defines eight factors of operational superiority that a force system must have to be capable of facing tomorrow's challenges: understanding, cooperation, agility, mass, endurance, mental strength, influence and command performance. The combination of these eight capabilities will enable land forces to make the most of promising technologies and prevail on the battlefield.

This long-term vision enables the Land Army to ensure cross-functional coherence, i.e. to build its operational capabilities over time by relying on successive milestones: " We have the joint battle group in 2021 and the joint brigade in 2023, so these are all milestones in the development of our capabilities.

The third axis of the army's modernisation involves the search for multiplier effects. This approach involves collaborative combat combined with work on robotics. This ambition is embodied in the Scorpion and Titan projects.

SCORPION is the first phase of modernisation, which will extend over this decade. The aim of this phase is to replace the middle segment of the army's armoured vehicles with new-generation vehicles capable of initiating the collaborative air-land combat.

TITAN is phase two of the army's modernisation, which will extend over the next decade, from 2030 to 2040. This stage will be marked by the renewal of the heavy segment and will extend collaborative combat to the joint and combined: "This twenty-year approach means that we can think about the contours and interfaces between all our capabilities from the outset, to ensure that they are consistent. Our aim is to outperform our rivals in terms of power, agility and speed.

Finally, two coherence efforts are being made in particular SYNERGIE for collaborative combat and VULCAIN for robotics.

First of all, it is a question of SYNERGIESCORPION to TITAN and ensure compatibility and continuity. Collaborative combat consists of networking tactical platforms and counters to understand and decide, to act and react individually and collectively faster and more effectively than the enemy. It enables greater synergy of tactical effects. SYNERGIE organises and paces the transformation of SIOCs in the gradual move towards collaborative combat to be able to upgrade the range of services on offer: friendly geolocation and tactical situation sharing, collaborative protection, collaborative observation, collaborative aggression and collaborative memory (making good use of the data recorded; e.g.: log route images to be compared with images of an ECL drone overflight ahead of the convoy to detect changes in the ground and the threat of mining).

The project VULCAIN on tactical robotics (drones and ground robots) is intended as a lIt is an effective tool that complements collaborative combat and must be integrated into it.. A veritable technological revolution is underway, and it is set to radically change the face of the battlefield, as the conflicts in the Levant, Nagorno-Karabakh and Ukraine have shown. VULCAIN's ambition is to design the robotic breakthrough today, and gradually build it tomorrow. The first phase (2021-2025) is already underway, and will identify military needs and develop a cross-functional robotics capability. A second phase will equip experimental units from 2025 onwards, with the aim of achieving true tactical robotics by 2040. In addition to robots, VULCAIN includes work on the drone grid which is a coherent and comprehensive framework, organised in complementary layers, and equips all those involved in air-land combat (from the dismounted soldier to the BIA).