French media report problems with the Paris Olympics counter-UAS system

News outlet France 24 reports that the anti-drone system PARADE, developed to protect the Parisian skies throughout the July 26-September 8 Olympics and Paralympics, has performed worse than expected during a March exercise, according to media reports.

“On two of the sites where Parade was tested, it didn’t work as well as expected. Put in other words, PARADE stopped the drones, but within a much smaller perimeter than expected,” an observer of the “Coubertin LAD 2” exercise told the French weekly Marianne. Satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné said the system had performed even worse than during the first exercise, “Coubertin LAD 1”, that was held to test its efficiency. During that exercise, PARADE was reportedly only able to detect one out of three malicious drones at a distance of 800 metres. It’s annoying that this is coming out publicly but unfortunately, contrary to the official line, things aren’t really working as we’d like,” a senior security source told AFP on condition of anonymity.”

Thales and CS Group won the French defence procurement agency’s (DGA) tender to develop an anti-drone system back in April 2022. The contract is worth EUR350 million over an 11-year period. In the consortium’s tender, PARADE was presented as a “scalable, modular, multi-mission system” for fighting drones.

According to Thales: “The modular, multi-mission PARADE system will 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 PARADE system will be able to reinforce the security of the public and the infrastructures during large gatherings…..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.”

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