France’s Crash Programs Budget Doubled in 2009
The French DGA procurement agency recently announced [in French] that its 2009 urgences operations (UO, formerly “crash programs”) budget doubled from EUR 131 million in 2008 to EUR 260 million in 2009. This change is in line with a broader international trend, as front-line operations in Afghanistan and beyond reveal limitations in existing equipment, as well as new equipment needs. One change from 2008 was an increased emphasis on naval systems, as 4 of 36 UO programs focused on counter-piracy efforts.
Key 2009 programs included 32 armoring kits for France’s Puma and Cougar medium helicopters, 200 vehicle up-armoring kits, 150 IED jammers, 5 Buffalo mine-clearing vehicles, 60 RWS remote-control turrets for vehicles, The Venus project for on-the-move communication with the Syracuse satellite system, 10 SATCOM on-the-move stations, integration of America’s Remote Operational Video Enhanced Receiver (ROVER) ground-to-air communications into 25 Mirage 2000 fighters, and retrofitted IRST optical systems for existing French frigates that allow long-range passive scans, and identification of even small naval targets like pirate vessels.