Defense Technologies

France DGA selects Thales & Airbus to upgrade its SIGINT joint electronic warfare capabilities

The France Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) has selected Thales and Airbus to upgrade its Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) system, to enable French forces’ critical signals monitoring, direction finding, and spectrum analysis capabilities. According to Airbus official website

Contract details:

Under the 10-year contract, the two companies Thales and Airbus will help the French armed forces with a common information system and a set of sensors and is designated a high-impact program (PEM1), CONTACT, and SCORPION projects, under France’s defense spending plan.

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“The joint tactical SIGINT system will provide French armed forces with an expanded tactical electronic support measures (ECM) capabilities,” Airbus reported. 

The joint tactical SIGINT program will upgrade the electronic warfare capabilities of front-line units. This will provide a set of high-performance vehicle-mounted or portable assets compatible with the latest communication technologies. 

The new system will help to keep the French forces safe and secure by monitor and localize enemy communications to provide tactical maneuvers in the theatre of operations. 

The new system will equip the electronic support vehicles of the French Army’s 54th Signals Regiment from the SCORPION program, the French Navy’s frontline warships, and the Atlantique 2 maritime patrol aircraft. And could be deployed to protect the overseas airbases in military operations. 

The program will benefit from combined experience and expertise from Thales and Airbus. 

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Role of Thales in the contract:

Thales will draw on the SIGINT expertise developed by the Group on several legacy programs. 

Thales programs include COHORTE (the current French Army’s tactical SIGINT system), MINREM French Navy’s SIGINT system, ARCHANGE (French Air Force’s new-generation SIGINT aircraft), and CLOVIS (strategic interministerial communications localization project). 

Thales will also build on its capabilities in end-to-end communications, radio communications, and communications security. 

Role of Airbus in the project:

Airbus will provide its expertise in strategic ELINT systems, drawing on its experience on programs such as RAMSES (strategic radio and satellite communication information system) and PARADOS (radio signal acquisition sensor). 

These systems are currently in operational with France’s defense intelligence agency (DRM), the French Army, Navy, and Air and Space Force. 

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Airbus will also utilize its complex-systems integration and security know-how.

Project phases:

The first phase of the project will provide the armed forces with initial operational capabilities for signals monitoring, with subsequent operational tranches to significantly increase the number of units in service. 

The new functions will be added incrementally over the term of the contract to provide French armed forces with state-of-the-art electronic warfare systems and capabilities. 

The director of Intelligence Business at Airbus Defense and Space, Francois Lombard said, “Our armed forces face an increasing number of threats and need to rely on the ever-expanding volume of data.” 

He further added, “Combined with aerial and satellite imagery and other sources, these new electronic capabilities will make it possible to identify these threats and above all to characterize them with significantly greater precision.” 

The first 160 million euro contract under the program was awarded in 2002. While the delivery of the first system is scheduled for 2023. The end of the development process and a full operational capability are expected in 2025. According to Defense Brief

“As risks evolve and expand, reliable intelligence is an essential element of sovereignty and a strategic asset for operational decision-making, force protection, territorial integrity, and civil security.” Marc Darmon, Executive Vice President, Secure Communications and Information Systems from Thales, said.

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He further added, “We are proud to be taking part in this program to upgrade France’s intelligence capabilities in support of front-line forces across all environments and to be helping to keep them safe and effective on their crucial missions.” 


France is making efforts to upgrade its older communication means up to the modern age digital intelligence systems. 

This will help them to be more secure in information warfare on 21st-century battlefields.


  1. Airbus official website
  2. Defense Brief
  3. Military Embedded
  4. Airforce-Technology