An interview with General Boissan, "father of the Weapon" Signals.
With General Yves-Tristan Boissan, we continue our great overview of the Army today. Commandant of the School of transmissions (Rennes) and as "father of the Weapon" is Boissan General Saint-Cyr and engineer Supelec. He was commanding officer of the 41st RT (Senlis). With him, and after BFST, the Legion, the Alat, the Engineering and Naval Troops, we look at the Weapon Signals, which this year celebrates its 70th anniversary. (All the news of this anniversary by clicking here). A Symposium on Signals will also be held Wednesday, October 10th at the Military Academy.
Sir, what are the transmissions today?
This is obviously an operational extremely important. Our Weapon is celebrating its 70th anniversary. It was created in June 1942 as a result of lessons learned from the defeat of 1940. We are the heirs of the fire telegraph, which previously belonged to engineering. Transmissions in 2012, is environ10.000 men and women, specialists and information systems (CIS) and electronic warfare. 20% of our staff are in the DIRISI (Joint Management infrastructure networks and information systems) of the Ministry of Defence, 40% in combined arms units - these are the 11 companies command and transmissions - and 40% within regiments transmissions grouped into a brigade.
Go into the details of this brigade ...
This is the B-TAC, the brigade communications and command support staff which is Douai (Nord). Our regiments have recovered some of the tasks that were formerly assigned to the regiment command and support divisions, namely the support of headquarters, the installation command posts and shelters in immediate protection. The brigade consists of five regiments, which sontorganisés on the same model: it is the 28th RT (Issoire), 40th RT (Thionville), the 41st RT (Douai), the 48th RT (Agen) and the 53rd RT (Lunéville ).
RT and 8th regiment, historical, installed at Mont Valerian?
We all descend from the regiment, the 8th Engineer Regiment, one of the fire of war telegraphers 14-18. It still exists, but it is now subject to DIRISI: this is a joint unit strategic level, which deals with information systems and communication of strategic interest.
And electronic warfare?
Two regiments spend entirely: the 44th RT (Mutzig) and 54th RT (Haguenau). They are attached to the Brigade intelligence.
For transmissions, who does what between the DIRISI brigade units Joint?
The DIRISI of the Ministry, not the army, cares for fixed systems between the metropolis and overseas in various theaters of which are engaged the armed forces. In contrast, companies B.Tac and arming systems in theaters. Regiments of B.Tac deal means heavy high capacitié on a large geographical area, with (for example) and RITA systems SYRACUSE - that make up the backbone of telecommunications still tactical (corps level and division), while companies and command transmissions operate with means light and mobile field, closer to the forces (at the brigade or battalion task force).
Where are your major equipment programs?
We have three major programs of renewal of our equipment. The first is called Scorpio. This program will radically change the platforms that will fight interconnected "infovalorisées" as we say in our jargon.We develop the SICS, SIC Scorpio, which will be a single information system at the brigade and battalion task force.
Second equipment. The radio called to succeed the current PR4G: it is the joint program called CONTACT, manufactured by Thales and whose first orders have been placed recently. It is based on software radio technology, ie a computer that can use multiple waveforms, such as terrestrial or ground-air. It is also equipped with a GPS system. This is the position that will make the NEB SCORPION even better.
Finally, Phase 3 Syracuse - to establish satellite links - already well advanced. There will eventually 300 stations in the Army, some men-portable. Some of these stations will track the satellite while they are in motion.
You implement complex systems. Do you have difficulties in recruiting staff?
Recruitment is a delicate operation, but we have no particular difficulties are specialists transmissions. However, we are in the situation of all administrations and companies in our industry because our technologies are often dual.
The more difficult question is that of training for our staff to remain at the highest level, in a world where technology is changing very quickly. However, to train staff must have time to do so. This is for me the main issue.
I would note in passing that we are the Weapon increasingly feminised, with approximately 15% of our workforce.
Speak regiments electronic warfare ...
Each regiment has its own vocation. The 44 gun electronic warfare center Mutzig - are of fixed strategic and operational level. The 54 states, he means for moving forward brigades closer contact lines, in order to be closer to adverse network to locate and obtain information. I will add the company's 785th electronic warfare today in Rennes. To illustrate one of the missions of the professional soldiers of the war Electronics I mention their role in Afghanistan to neutralize improvised explosive devices (IED) by radio interference.
Transmissions are they engaged in cyber?
They need to build their place and we started doing the past few months under the auspices of the General Staff of the armed forces. We are already well into the development of our capacity to fight computer defensively (to protect our systems and networks), knowing that the fight is not active computer of the weapon Transmissions.