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Thales responsible for the maintenance of French sky surveillance systems

The French Air Force has signed a ten-year contract worth € 1.5 billion with Thales, which will be responsible for maintaining the operations control systems aerospace.

The French Air Force has entrusted Thales with the project management for the maintenance of all systems to monitor the sky over France, a contract worth 1.5 billion euros over ten years, according to concordant sources. This contract, called Vassco and notified on 29 December by the Directorate of Aeronautical Maintenance (DMAé), concerns support for the Aerospace Operations Command and Control System (SCCOA) ).

The SCCOA is a “meta-system that provides airspace surveillance and control, ground-to-air defense coordination, planning, programming and conduct of operations on national territory as well as in external operations “, according to the Ministry of the Armed Forces. It thus allows fighter planes or helicopters to intercept a suspect aircraft for the “sky police” assigned to the Air Force.

Concretely, Thales is responsible for oversee around fifteen partners to maintain the 700 systems (surveillance radars, information systems, wired and radio communication networks, navigation and landing aids) which make up the SCCOA. These systems are spread over 125 sites in mainland France and overseas. Among the partners are in particular CS Group, Hemeria, Airbus, Capgemini but also the industrial service of aeronautics, the SIAé.

“Verticalization of contracts”

The Vassco contract is part of the Air Force’s policy of “verticalization of contracts”, aimed at grouping all the pre-existing contracts into a single aircraft maintenance contract in order to improve their availability for operations.

“Before, the ministry organized the support of these 700 systems via around thirty contracts. “, each holder committing to intervene within a given period in the event of a failure, explained to journalists on Friday Christophe Salomon, deputy general manager of Thales in charge of land and air systems. “This contract amounts to completely changing the paradigm and asking Thales to commit to the availability of the overall system and all its components. It is up to us to sub-contract with our partners and to put in place the means that make it possible to guarantee the performance of this performance “, he added.

It therefore involves the establishment of a new logistics organization with warehouses spread over the territory , a computer system linking all these elements and partners to facilitate the flow of information. The data collected as and when will allow within three years to have enough perspective to be able to anticipate the necessary maintenance before breakdowns occur.