A consortium led by Thales and CS GROUP will develop PARADE (Protection déployAble modulaiRe Anti-DronEs / Deployable, modular anti-drone protection), a drone countermeasure capability, that will detect, classify and neutralise micro- and mini-drones for the French defence procurement agency (DGA).
The DGA has committed €33 million out of a total programme budget of €350 million over 11 years. The contract was awarded after a European competitive tendering process launched by the DGA in 2021 to strengthen the drone countermeasures (counter-UAV) capabilities of the armed forces.
The first order calls for the acquisition of six PARADE drone countermeasures systems. With contributions from French SMEs such as CerbAir, Exavision and MC2 Technologies, as well as the Dutch company Robin, the PARADE system will provide decision support, analysis of complex situations and the capability to neutralise micro-drones and mini-drones. The contract also includes operator training and system and equipment maintenance and upgrades.
The PARADE system will provide permanent 360° site protection and is designed for easy transport from one site to another by road, air or sea, considerably increasing its scope of use and speed of deployment. The first PARADE systems will be delivered to the DGA within a year of the launch of the programme.
Thales will draw on its experience as a systems integrator and its know-how in air defence, cybersecurity and digital architectures. CS GROUP is a pioneer in drone countermeasures and has deployed operational solutions to meet civilian as well as military requirements since 2016. The company develops modular, scalable, interoperable, cybersecure systems built around a command and control capability that uses artificial intelligence and data fusion technologies to provide a clearer understanding of this constantly evolving threat.
So why does France need a drone countermeasure system. Well, millions of new drones are expected to enter the skies over the next 20 years, creating an extremely complex aviation ecosystem and raising significant safety and security challenges. To address this constantly evolving threat, the consortium led by Thales and CS GROUP will provide a scalable, modular, multi-mission drone countermeasures system to protect fixed military sites or facilities.
The system can also be used by the armed forces to help protect events, people and civil infrastructure, in particular during large gatherings.The partnership between Thales and CS GROUP, is fully aligned with the missions conducted under the country’s special air security arrangements (DPSA), which are designed to provide enhanced protection during sensitive events. PARADE will provide additional detection and response capabilities for the DPSA, improving security for two forthcoming international sporting events in France – the 2023 Rugby World Cup and the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games – for which drone countermeasures are a government priority.