FELIN System Operational in French Army in September

EUROSATORY 2010: Symbolically, it’s the French Army’s
1st Regiment that will receive, in September 2010, the FELIN equipment
for all of its combat companies. It will then be the turn of the 13th
Chasseur Alpins battalion. In total, 22,588 systems will be delivered.
Starting in 2011, four regiments per year will be equipped. This
marks a crucial step of a major program, for which France’s defense
procurement agency, the DGA, awarded Sagem (Safran Group) prime contractorship following competition bidding.
Before this date, on May 27, Sagem delivered the first 90 systems to the Infantry School’s FELIN training center. These will be used for initial training of the army’s instructors.

The successful technical/operational evaluation
FELIN (Fantassin à Equipements et Liaisons Intégrés) is an integrated soldier system designed to enhance all the dismounted soldier’s operational functions: protection, observation, C4I (command, control, computers, communications
and intelligence), weapons use, mobility and support. The 2009
technical/operational evaluation, which was a success, was the
program’s most critical stage. It consisted of rigorous testing of the
system. 358 FELIN units were tested by four regiments – battle-hardened
units who have all seen combat in Afghanistan. Their mission was to
test the system in the most demanding environments: mountains, jungles,
deserts, when parachuting and in urban combat.
Ergonomy first
All the weapons were used: the Famas, FRF2 precision rifle and Minimi.
Following this campaign, 190 modifications were carried out to offer an
infantry system that meets operational needs to a dismounted soldier.
As Colonel Laurent Barraco, the DGA program director, explains, “The
DGA, French Army and Sagem’s obsession was the ergonomics when handling
matériel and software.”
In terms of performance, “The FAMAS rifle has a firing range
enhanced from 300m to 500m during the day and from 150m to 400m at
night. We put a section equipped with FELIN in face-to-face simulated
combat, by day and by night, with another outfitted with today’s
equipment: there’s no comparison,” explains Colonel Rey, head of the
French Army’s FELIN program in its Technical Section.
As Sagem points out, thanks to its modularity and its equipment’s
performance, the FELIN soldier modernization system is a coherent
technological and operational resource that can meet the specific needs
of other armies, whether it’s their organization or weapons. Several
modernization programs are already in progress : FIST (UK), IMESS
(Switzerland), IDZ (Germany) and Land Warrior (USA).