French defence agency awards consortium led by Thales and CS Group EUR33m counter drone contract

The French defence procurement agency DGA has selected a consortium led by Thales and CS GROUP to develop and deliver the PARADE (programme de protection deployable modulaire anti-drones) drone countermeasures programme capability, with firm commitments for EUR33 million out of a total programme budget of EUR350 million over 11 years, says a joint press release.

PARADE is a modular, multi-mission system designed to detect, classify and safely neutralise micro- and mini-drones either to protect sensitive sites on a temporary basis or as part of overseas deployments abroad. The system can also be used by the armed forces to help protect events, people and civil and military infrastructure, in particular during large gatherings. It can be used on a temporary basis to protect a fixed site or as part of military operations overseas.

Thales and, CS GROUP are working with partners in France and Europe’s defence industrial and technological base to develop the PARADE programme capability to provide permanent deployable protection for critical infrastructure from drone threats.

The contract award follows an open competition contract after a European competitive tendering process launched by the DGA in 2021 to strengthen the drone countermeasures (counter-UAV) capabilities of the French armed forces.

The contract 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 and, analysis of complex situations and the capability to neutralise micro-drones and mini-drones. The programme contract also includes operator training and system/ and equipment maintenance and upgrades.

The PARADE system provides 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. This solution could also be used for combined civil-military operations, for example to protect critical infrastructure such as military bases in France or in overseas theatres of operations.

The first PARADE systems will be delivered to the DGA within a year of the launch of the programme.

“CS GROUP has been involved in drone countermeasures for over eight years and actively monitors the latest technological advances in order to respond effectively to the evolving drone threat and meet the related operational requirements, from large-scale event security to counterterrorism and protection for troops on overseas deployments abroad. The partnership between CS GROUP and Thales provides a comprehensive vision of air security at all levels to guarantee permanent situational awareness and determine the best way to respond to threats.” Marie de Saint Salvy, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, CS Group.

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