16 Jun 2011 By PIERRE TRAN DefenseNews
PARIS - A large Anglo-French Army exercise, dubbed Flandres 2011, will involve six defense companies as part of a bilateral cooperative effort aimed at boosting interoperability, French Army Gen. Hervé Charpentier said June 16.
EADS Cassidian France, Cassidian UK, MBDA France, MBDA UK, Thales France and Thales UK are the six companies, a spokeswoman for the Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA) procurement office said.
The exercise is a first major step toward creating the combined joint expeditionary force set out in the Nov. 2 2010, Lancaster House treaty on Anglo-French defense cooperation, Charpentier said.
The Flandres exercise will run June 22-29, involve 1,150 French troops and 450 British troops, and draw up a first review of the interoperability of battlefield digital systems, Charpentier told journalists. Units of the British 7th armored brigade, "Desert Rats," will work side by side with units from the French 3rd mechanized brigade.
A "magic plug" will be used to connect the separate command-and-control systems of the two armies, Charpentier said, holding up a French-into-British three pin adapter plug.
The lessons learned from the exercise will feed information into the Safir project, in which the DGA and its British counterpart will seek to develop a distributed simulation system in Britain and France, aimed at common training and mission preparation.
The simulation aims to provide realistic and complete training for troops of both countries. Safir seeks to study and validate concepts alongside field exercises.