Scorpion: Implementation Update of an Ambitious Program
(Source: French Army; issued Dec 09, 2020)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
Steady funding and coordinated management will allow the French Army to take delivery of over half the equipment procured under the Scorpion program – Griffon, Jaguar (pictured) and Serval AFVs, upgraded Leclerc tanks, and C2 – by 2025. (FR Army photo)
The Scorpion program is now taking shape in all regiments and will profoundly transform the Army, with a transition that will take place over the next 10 years.

"My intention is to raise the level of operational readiness to train men capable of fighting even in the harshest fields of conflict," said General Thierry Burkhard, Chief of Staff of the French Army.

Army deliveries

The first deliveries of Scorpion armored vehicles to the Army began in 2019 with the arrival of the Griffon. To date, four infantry regiments have received a first allocation from Griffon (3rd RIMa, 13th BCA, 1st RI and 21st RIMa) and two others will be equipped by summer 2021 (13th DBLE and 126th RI).

Each regiment receives an initial allocation of 22 to 26 Griffon. The regiments will then see their allotment increase as deliveries increase, with the aim of equipping two combat companies in each regiment by the end of the current military programming law in 2025.

By the end of 2021, around forty Griffons should be deployed on overseas operations.

Concurrently with the arrival of the Griffon, the Scorpion combat information system, SICS, was deployed in the first infantry regiments, allowing the Army to begin its ramp-up on the Scorpion combat system.

From May 2021, the Army will receive its first 20 Jaguars to equip the cavalry. In 2022, the Army will receive its first modernized Serval vehicles and Leclerc main battle tanks, and in early 2024 the first support mortar support vehicle (MEPAC) will follow.

In 2025, at the end of the military programming law, the Army will have received 1,818 Griffon, 54 MEPAC, 150 Jaguar, 978 Serval and 100 modernized Leclercs, which corresponds to 50% of the targets of the Scorpion program.

Cooperative data-rich combat

The Scorpion program is the overall structuring operation of the Army which will renew armored capacities and develop cooperative, data-rich combat, with the ability to deploy the following forces:
-- in 2021, an initial combined arms battle group (GTIA),
-- in 2023, a combined arms brigade (BIA),
-- in 2025, two combined arms brigades.

Data-enriched combat will concern all tactical echelons, relying mainly on the capabilities of the SICS, ergonomically designed, in direct liaison with the Forces. Based on the capabilities of the Contact radio, cooperative combat should primarily revolutionize the combat capabilities of infantry companies and cavalry squadrons. Accelerating combat at this level should translate into greater subsidiarity granted to take the initiative and reap the benefits of technology.

Initially, the SICS will work on the current PR4G radio, which has nevertheless been upgraded with new capabilities, in order to obtain improved geolocation of friendly troops (blue force tracking).

From now on, the sensors provide an initial self-protection capability for the Griffon and Jaguar. The gradual deliveries of Contact radios, and its increments, will ease the transition towards collaborative combat. In this area, the transformation of the Army will take place over several years, in line with the evolution of CIS and in an incremental approach specific to the Scorpion program, aimed at integrating innovations according to their technological maturity.

Ongoing experiments

The arrival of the Griffon and the SICS in the French Army has made it possible to begin a cycle of evaluations and experiments, both technical and tactical, resolutely turned towards the projection of the first GTIA Scorpion at the end of 2021.

They have taken the form of GTIA-level exercises in the field, notably at CENTAC in Mailly. These exercises mainly involved the 13th BCA, which should be the first regiment to deploy SICS in operations, and the 3rd RIMa, which will then deploy the first Griffons.

Supported by the technical section of the Army (STAT) and the Scorpion combat expertise force, these two regiments were able to begin their build-up in preparation for their overseas deployment.

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