Less than 100 days earlier than the Olympics, the failures of an anti-drone system are worrying | EUROtoday

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Developed by Thalès, the Parade system, supposed to guard the Parisian sky from drone assaults through the opening ceremony on the Seine, has had one setback. According to a number of safety sources, assessments carried out final month weren’t totally passable.

Holes within the anti-drone protect for the Paris 2024 Olympics? The query is on everybody's lips lower than 100 days earlier than the opening ceremony. According to varied French media, a number of assessments have revealed flaws within the Parade system, on the coronary heart of the French system for combating hostile missiles.

A sequence of workout routines carried out in March wouldn’t have given full satisfaction. “On two of the sites where Parade was tested, it did not work according to the expected performance. That is to say, Parade stops the drones, but within a much more restricted area than expected,” he stated. an observer of the Coubertin LAD 2 train to the weekly Marianne.

According to Le Canard Enchaîné, this take a look at even proved much less profitable than throughout Coubertin LAD 1, the primary a part of this full-scale train. On this event, the Parade system was in a position to detect just one malicious drone in three at a distance of 800 meters.

“It’s annoying that this comes out publicly but yes, unfortunately, contrary to the official discourse, everything does not really work as we would like,” a high-level safety supply admitted to AFP in early April.

Detect, establish, neutralize

The launch of explosive drones flying over a crowd of 300,000 spectators gathered over 6 km alongside the banks of the Seine through the opening ceremony constitutes a safety ordeal for the police.

With a fleet estimated at almost 3 million drones in France, the armies, the Ministry of the Interior and the Paris police headquarters are working arduous to keep away from any premature overflight of the capital.

“Drones represent a very high level threat because they are easy to use, there are a lot of them in France and converting them into weapons is simple and very affordable. This does not require a large logistical organization,” analyzes the guide protection Marc Chassillan.

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To counter this risk, the Thales and CS Group consortium was chosen in April 2022 after a name for tenders from the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA): a contract price 350 million euros over eleven years. Objective: the deployment of Parade, introduced as “an scalable, modular and multi-mission system” for anti-drone fight.

“Parade is made up of a set of radars and cameras capable of detecting and characterizing the threat. The system is completed by a goniometer which identifies the radio emissions which guide the drone,” explains Marc Chassillan. “Then come the countermeasures: jamming to immobilize or modify the trajectory, or the intervention of a police drone equipped with a net to capture the malicious device,” provides the knowledgeable.

The object will also be shot down straight – a process used as a final resort as a result of the explosion of a drone generates particles that may injure and even kill folks on the bottom.

Ignition delay

The lack of effectiveness noticed through the newest assessments provides to a sequence of disappointments for Parade. Scheduled for June 2023, the primary supply of six techniques was delayed a number of months. A primary failure which led to the opening of an info mission by the Senate Defense Committee.

Its president, Les Républicains senator Cédric Perrin, has on a number of events been very essential of the system developed by Thales. The senators lastly introduced on March 20 that their report wouldn’t be made public. On April 2, the Minister of the Armed Forces, Sébastien Lecornu, closed the closed-door hearings of the fact-finding mission, fueling issues about securing the Games.

The French group Thales presents one of the possible configurations of the Parade system in Brétigny near Paris, October 21, 2022.
The French group Thales presents one of many attainable configurations of the Parade system in Brétigny close to Paris, October 21, 2022. © Eric Piermont, AFP

“The decision not to make the report public was taken collectively following the hearings conducted by the committee's office. But it is true that the Parade system, which was tested on several occasions, did not give complete satisfaction. The Ministry of Defense, the DGA and the Air Force are perfectly aware of this”, acknowledges Senator LR and co-rapporteur Philippe Paul.

Will Thales have the ability to excellent Parade earlier than the competitors begins? “The time to train the staff, to significantly improve the system, it seems impossible,” a safety supply interviewed by AFP estimated originally of the month.

The problem of the combat in opposition to drones

Recently, the Air Force seems to have begun to think about another with the acquisition of Bassalt anti-drone techniques, manufactured by the subsidiary of the ADP group (previously Aéroports de Paris) Hologarde.

“It must be understood that the Parade system is not the only equipment that will be used for the fight against drones during the Olympic Games. It will be part of a whole involving different systems used by the Ministry of the Interior, Airports of Paris, the air force and the gendarmerie”, lists Philippe Paul.

Despite these totally different “layers” supposed to fill any holes within the racket, the combat in opposition to drones within the coronary heart of the capital stays a colossal problem for the safety forces, notably through the opening ceremony on July 26.

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“For an anti-drone radar, an urban environment is extremely difficult and requires signal processing. Trees, buildings, monuments complicate detection because they form obstacles which will act as a screen and allow a drone to emerge at the last moment” , specifies Marc Chassillan.

“The other big fear is the swarm of drones and its saturation effect. If 150 machines rush into the crowd during the opening ceremony but you let one pass, that’s enough to spoil the party “Especially since the Seine is like a canyon with many perpendicular streets which are all access corridors for drones”, continues the expert.

“No identified threat”

However, there isn’t a query for the chief to surrender the opening ceremony on the Seine, unprecedented within the historical past of the Games. “We can do it and we will do it,” Emmanuel Macron repeated Monday April 15, throughout an interview with BFMTV. But for the primary time, the pinnacle of state named locations within the capital more likely to function plan B and plan C.

The first choice could be to restrict the occasion to the environment of the Trocadéro. Another various could be to return to a extra traditional ceremony on the Stade de France. “We will carry out a real-time analysis of the risks,” added the President of the Republic.

A clarification which displays a sure nervousness surrounding this ceremony, the scale of which has already been decreased twice and which might see new preparations.

“There is undoubtedly a bit of panic as a result of the date [de la cérémonie d’ouverture] quick approaching. It will come shortly, however there may be nonetheless room if we have to cut back or put a plan B in place,” believes Phillipe Paul.

“Today, there is no clear threat” to the Paris 2024 Olympics, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin recalled this week. No direct risk however a global context – conflict in Gaza, Iran's assault on Israel, battle between Russia and Ukraine – notably tense. In France, the Vigipirate plan has returned to its highest degree. A choice taken the day after the assault on a live performance corridor in Moscow on March 22 and claimed by the Islamic State group.