PARIS --- Joël Barre, Delegate-General for Armaments, inaugurated in Cholet on September 17, 2019 the production line of CONTACT software-defined radios, in the presence of Lt. Gen. Bernard Barrera, Adjutant-General of the Army, and of Patrice Caine, Chairman and CEO of Thales.
8400 CONTACT radio stations are planned to be delivered to the French military during the 2019-2025 military planning law, most of them to the Army.
Awarded in 2012 to Thales by the Directorate-General for Armament as a contracting authority, the CONTACT contract aims to equip the forces with a high-speed, secure tactical radio communication system, based on radio equipment tailored to the specific needs of the various operational uses (infantrymen, vehicles, aircraft, ships). Unlike conventional networks, CONTACT does not use a fixed communication infrastructure, each radio being able to automatically relay information within a resilient network.
A true nervous system of future tactical exchanges, CONTACT will answer, for all the environments, the challenges of global connectivity with an open, secure and robust network. CONTACT will move from the era of command to voice to that of digital and broadband communications. It will be at the heart of the connectivity of land forces with Scorpion and Tigre, and air forces with Rafale, MRTT, Guépard and many others.
Being already interoperable with standardized radio protocols and based on an open radio architecture, CONTACT will also make decisive improvements in joint and combined deployments, notably thanks to the future European ESSOR standard.
CONTACT radios were designed in France by Thales, which has plants in Gennevilliers, Cholet and Brive. The development of the software radio range today represents a workload that supports 300 jobs at the Cholet site.
For the production of the CONTACT positions, Thales relies on a supply chain of more than 900 SMEs / ETI.
CONTACT radio systems will replace PR4G radios that have been a technical and commercial success, with 150,000 radios exported to 43 countries. CONTACT radios have already been sold to Belgium as part of the CaMo government partnership to equip the Belgian army.
The technical qualification by the DGA of the CONTACT radio system is scheduled for the end of 2019.