Engaged in the Gabian high intensity training off the Isle of Levant, the air-defence frigate ‘Forbin’ and the multi-mission frigate ‘Languedoc’ on September 18, 2019 completed a networked missile strike on an air target using a Tactical Data Link (TDL) – in other words, target tracking elements were provided to the firing vessel by another ship.
In this case, an Aster 30 anti-aircraft missile was fired by ‘Forbin’ using target data transmitted by ‘Languedoc,’ the first time a networked missile firing was achieved by French Navy ships.
The success of this network firing validates the robustness of the data link architectures allowing the ships to share the tactical situation and to demonstrate their coordination capabilities to ensure effective air defense at sea.
These training firings are essential for future operations and are therefore an essential preparation for a “fighting Navy” which requires ships, weapons systems and crews that are experienced, and therefore well trained.
From its DGA missile testing center on the Ile du Levant, the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) took part in this shooting, as it does in every such training, notably through the general coordination of the test and the provision of the threat-representative targets.
As is increasingly the case for the operational readiness of the forces, the virtual reality capabilities of DGA Missile Tests were also used. Thus, in order to enrich the tactical situation of the two frigates, the center transmitted by Link 16 additional data generating for these ships a hybrid environment combining real tracks and simulated tracks, and thus contributing to offer the Navy training that is always more representative of conditions on theaters of operations.
This training success also supports the development of the Naval Cooperative Watch (VCN) capability, inaugurated on the two frigates during the exercise, and which consolidates the operational capabilities of a "state-of-the-art Navy."
Cooperative naval watch
The cooperative naval watch is a developing capability based on networking all the information of provided the all of the sensors of a naval air group. It differs from tactical data linking because it exchanges raw data directly from the sensors, which is much more accurate, and not data that has already been processed.
In future, thanks to the cooperative naval watch, the Navy will have an optimized image of the threat, with sufficient information to implement the most effective anti- missile interceptor, and so facilitating the choice of the most suitable weapon to deal with the threat.