French Army moving forward on Contact tactical radio programme
The French Army is on course to take delivery of its first of its new Thales Contact tactical radios from 2019, sources close to the programme have disclosed to MONch during the ILA Air Show being held in Berlin between 26 April and 29 April. The Contact programme is an overarching effort to replace the French Army’s existing Very/Ultra High Frequency (30 megahertz/MHz to three gigahertz/GHz) tactical radio architecture, largely built around the Thales PR4G V/UHF tactical radio family with a new suite of handheld (Contact-HH) and vehicular (Contact-NCTT) transceivers which will begin to enter service en masse early next decade. The initial Contact deliveries will enable the French Army to develop and hone its skills in using the radios. Sources continued that an initial delivery of 2,0000 Contact-HH and Contact-NCTT radios is expected although the eventual size of the entire Contact delivery to the French Army, which will also include the Contact-AR airborne radio could greatly eclipse that number. MONch was also told that the French Army is also expected to replace its existing Safran/SagemRIF-NG PRR (Persona Role Radios) which it deploys with individual troops at the platoon level, and which forms an essential part of the army’s FELIN infantry soldier system. Work to this effect could commence over the next decade, and is seen as one of the essential elements of the force’s wholesale modernisation of its communications.