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ThalesRaytheonSystems air defense management center proves real-time coordination capabilities in Mali

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Jun 18, 2013

Paris Air Show, France, 18 June 2013 – The CMD3D air defense management center deployed with the French Army's 54th Artillery Regiment on Operation Serval in Mali since January 2013 has proven its vital role in providing real-time coordination of airborne assets* and securing the success of joint, combined-arms and allied missions in this type of conflict. The system was qualified by the French defense procurement agency (DGA) in 2012 and is providing France with an effective air defense management center capability (CMD3D and its chain of command) in the Malian theatre and enhancing its capacity to coordinate air-land combat operations in real time.

"Since the CMD3D air defense management center was deployed close to combat zones, it has displayed high availability and played an active role in supporting joint, combined-arms and allied operations, enhancing the efficiency and security of all the assets engaged on air-land combat missions in the Malian theatre. The system offers a key capability in that it provides the commander and the operations center with shared awareness and the ability to act in real time, which translates into a higher level of confidence and greater freedom of action," said Col. Sagon, commanding officer of the 54th artillery regiment, which is normally based in Hyères in the South of France.

Operation Serval in Mali is the first time that the French Army has implemented real-time coordination of airborne assets under operational conditions since the French armed forces took delivery of the system from ThalesRaytheonSystems. In Mali, where the full range of air-land observation, intelligence gathering, strike and post-strike analysis assets have been deployed, the main roles performed by the CMD3D system on a routine basis are support for real-time deconfliction**, combat management and intelligence operations.

An integrated support system combining the resources of the armed forces and ThalesRaytheonSystems ensures full operational availability of the CMD3D center. Interoperability is assured by the use of a Link-16 tactical datalink and a wide range of other communication systems, enabling the CMD3D to interconnect air-land assets in real time and generate a common operational picture that is shared with the Air Force's airborne and ground-based command and control systems.

Flown into Bamako at the end of January 2013, this lightweight interoperability unit, operated by two dozen military personnel and comprising a small number of vehicles, travelled 1,200 km to Gao, where it was deployed immediately to support the Combined Arms Brigade's operations center. One priority was to set up a remote CMD3D console inside the operations center itself to coordinate reconnaissance and offensive missions by airborne assets (Tiger, Gazelle, Caesar, UAVs, Rafale, Mirage 2000, Puma and Transall).

The G2-Intelligence unit and the Air Liaison Officer also recognized the additional role of the remote CMD3D console and the day-to-day efficiency gains it offered in this theater for optimizing and fulfilling joint actions during air-land combat operations.

The CMD3D system from ThalesRaytheonSystems is continuing to deliver operational value to the forces deployed on Operation Serval today and is a key component of France's deployable SCCOA air command and control system.

1 CMD3D: Centre de Management de la Défense dans la 3ème Dimension
* Airborne assets: manned and unmanned aircraft, artillery shells, missiles and rockets.
** Deconfliction: measures taken to prevent accidents caused by the simultaneous presence of several assets on the ground and in the air About

ThalesRaytheonSystems is an international company specializing in air defense systems, command and control systems, 3D air defense radars, battlefield and counterbattery radars. Since its inception in 2001, ThalesRaytheonSystems has become one of the defense industry’s most successful transatlantic joint ventures. The company employs 1,400 people and is equally owned by Thales and Raytheon.