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Italy,International Valve Summit, Bergamo celebrates the technology of industrial valves

Europe/Innovation di

On May 24 and 25 in Bergamo will be held the second edition of the International Valve Summit, the international trade show for industrial valves, a leading Italian engineering company.

The event, hosted by the PROMOBERG Fair Company, represents one of the most important mechanical appointments, therefore, concerns valves technology and flow control solutions.

The driving sector is that of OIL & GAS, which in Italy is about 25 billion euros, of which about 8 billion are related to the sales of the industrial valves sector, an important market that represents one of the excellence of the Italian mechanical industry.

The “International Valve Summit” has been designed to give way to a major part of the O & G chain, an excellence of Italian mechanics that has some of the most important companies in Bergamo.

Schermata 2017-05-19 alle 22.24.12Promoter of the event Luca Pandolfi, head of the internationalization policies of Confindustria di Bergamo

The inspiration for this project was born by a study that Confindustria has achieved by meeting the needs of the industries of the province of Bergamo, says Dr. Pandolfi, the event this year hosts 205 companies with a strong growth compared to the first two years ago Which was about 150 participants.

Growth that represents the importance of the sector at international level, this sector in particular has a very strong tendency for internationalization, especially with regard to the oil and energy sector in general.

Screen 2017-05-19 at 22.25.47We will test the Italian industrial valves in Middle East or Eastern European pipelines or in the Algerian water pipelines. Indeed, the reference market in this sector is made up of very large multinationals, a target hard to reach without the support of an industrial system

Thirteen debate sessions with 50 exception speakers will be held in the two days of the event, which will address both technology-related issues in the industry, but also the procurement-related issues of large companies to explain the strategies of purchasing offices in the industry.

The O & O gas industry grows much faster than the rest of the subfund is a positive phenomenon that attests to the excellence and appreciation of the international market.

This year, the event envisages hosting about 8,000 visitors against 5700 last year, many of which will come from 57 countries worldwide, a major success for the 2017 International Valve Summit.

 

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WANNACRY RANSOMWARE: RECENT CYBER-ATTACK

BreakingNews @en/Innovation di

The European Cybercrime Centre, EC3, at Europol is working closely with affected countries cybercrime units and key industry partners to mitigate the threat and assist victims. The recent attack is at an unprecedented level and will require a complex international investigation to identify the culprits. The Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (JCAT), at EC3 is a group of specialist international cyber investigators and is specially designed to assist in such investigations and will play an important role in supporting the investigation.

Red Cell Challenges Cyber Warriors in Multiforce Exercise

Innovation di

 

CAMP WILLIAMS, Utah, April 28, 2017 — Air Force Capt. Joshua Montgomery isn’t a criminal, but he plays one as part of his duties. He’s a member of an Air National Guard team that tests cyber defenses.

“It’s the best job in the military,” he said. “We get to break things. We get to go and do all of the things that would send you to jail in the real world. It’s fantastic.”

As a member of the 177th Information Aggressor Squadron at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas, Montgomery tests cyber defense capabilities by attempting to hack into sensitive information systems.

“The idea of an information aggressor squadron is to understand the tactics that real-world adversaries like hackers and corporate espionage agents use,” he explained. He then uses that understanding to find network vulnerabilities that can be exploited.

Montgomery is putting his hacking skills to use as a member of the Red Cell during Cyber Shield 17, a cyber defense exercise that began here April 24 and continues until May 5.

Scenario-Based Role-Playing

Cyber Shield 17 is a National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve event that begins with a week of training and preparation and culminates in scenario-based cyber role-playing. It is the sixth iteration of the exercise, which began in 2012 and trains members of the Army National Guard, Air National Guard and Army Reserve, as well as civilians who work in law enforcement, intelligence and information technologies.

Participants each belong to one of several cells. Red Cell members, such as Montgomery, play the role of adversary hackers. Members of the Blue Cell attempt to defend against the Red Cell’s attacks. Members of the Gold Cell support the Blue Cell with coaching and mentorship, while White Cell members evaluate the Blue Cell’s performance.

As Red Cell members prepare to break into Blue Cell systems, their opposite numbers prepare for an experience that Blue Cell leader Army Maj. Kevin T. Mamula predicts will push them to their limits.

“The blue teams will be challenged to their breaking points by design,” said Mamula, who also works as the cyber network defense team lead for Ohio. “They will be stressed and frustrated and mad. But they will come out as a much more effective team.”

Crucial Training

Exercise participants emphasized that the threat that cyberattacks pose make this kind of challenging training crucial.

“Cyber threats are real,” said Army Capt. Joshua Hull from the Nebraska Joint Force Headquarters, who serves as assistant leader for the Nebraska Blue Team in Cyber Shield 17. “They are already all around us, and they affect every aspect of our daily interactions.”

Hull said he is confident his team will be able to succeed in warding off the Red Cell attacks, thanks to effective collaboration he has observed among his comrades.

“We have very good team cohesion,” Hull said. “We have a very good flow of information, and we’ve pulled our best and brightest. They have a good understanding of how network operations work.”

As Blue Cell fights an uphill battle in the cyber terrain, they will have the Gold Cell’s support. Army Lt. Col. Brad Rhodes, Gold Cell leader and commander of the Colorado Army National Guard’s Cyber Protection Team 174, said his team will provide struggling Blue Cell members with coaching and mentorship to help them learn and succeed.

“Our goal is that when the blue teams walk out of the door, they are feeling better about themselves and are more successful than when they first got here,” Rhodes said.

Red Cell leader Air Force Maj. Michael Erstein, who supervises the 177th Information Aggressor Squadron, said that Cyber Shield 17 fosters a learning environment by putting people of different backgrounds and levels of skill together.

Dedicated Interactions

“People who’ve never done this before get one-on-one dedicated interactions with individuals who’ve been doing this [for] 15-plus years,” Erstein said. “We are able to bring together experts from [the Defense Department], the government and the civilian world in one place and share that diverse perspective on cyberspace.”

“I’m very excited about being on a red team,” said Flo R. Bayer, a security analyst with the State of Wisconsin Department of Enterprise Technologies. “To see how hackers do things, their methodologies, will help me be better at defending the networks.”

“You don’t get an opportunity to learn from a group of people like this often, to apply this skill set often,” said Adam Hellmers, an electrical engineer with Radiance Technologies. “It’s a chance to develop higher skills and to further enhance your own self, your company’s self and the national interests.”

Cyber Shield 17 is far and away the best exercise he ever has encountered in his career, Montgomery said.

“It’s well organized,” he added. It’s well put together. And the teams, both red and blue, have made significant progress in securing DoD systems.”

President Putin will visit China in 2017: rapid development of trade and industrial ties with Beijing

BreakingNews @en/Innovation di

Russian President Vladimir Putin has revealed plans to visit China in May 2017 at a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Peru. Putin praised the rapid development of trade, industrial and high-tech ties between Moscow and Beijing. On Saturday, the two leaders met on the sidelines of the two-day Asian-Pacific Economic Forum (APEC). Putin said he has accepted an invitation to take part in events related to the implementation of Silk Road Economic Belt project, a large-scale initiative unveiled by Xi in 2013 that envisages the integration of trade and investment in Eurasia. One of the goals of a strategic Silk Road Economic Belt project is to link European and Asian countries with a transport, energy and a trade corridor. In June, Putin said he welcomes the project as a promising mutually beneficial initiative saying that wherever the road goes, it first runs through neighboring territories.

Germany is ready to contribute to the economic development of KSA

German experts will participate in the Internet summit in Jeddah as Germany is interested in being a partner in the Kingdom’s development of Vision 2030, with an exchange of the latest technology and education, said newly arrived German Consul General Holger Ziegeler. He also said that the Kingdom is one of Germany’s strongest partners in the region, not only due to oil, but also other industries that are very important. The Saudi government tries to invest heavily in infrastructure and future services for the population, and German companies are ready to contribute to this economic development. “Saudi Arabia and Germany are not only political partners but active in multilateral fields, partners in the economic field; large and small German companies are serving the Kingdom and economy of Germany,” Ziegeler added.

G7 and Japan cyberstrategy

Innovation/Tech & Cyber di

During the last meeting held in Japan last may, G7’s head of state adopted a joint declaration about cybersecurity issues.

Representatives of the biggest 7 economies in the world stated that Internet is a key driver for global economy: openness, interoperability, reliability and security are the cornerstones of this vision, as well as the free flow of informations and protection of human rights on line.

How G7 countries are going to empower their principle declaration?

Firstly, cooperation between all the actors responsible for cybersecurity: governments. business, research and society as a whole.

Secondly, international law: according to the G7 governments it is applicable, including the United Nations Charter, in cyberspace. Furthermore, cyber activities could amount to the use of force or an armed attack within the meaning of the United Nations Charter and customary international law.

A new UN Group of Governamentals Experts (GGE), is expected to discuss more how existing international law can be applied to cyberspace.

Finally, G7 encourage more states to join the Budapest Conventionon Cybercrime and support the work done by the G7 Roma – Lyon Group’s high-tech Crime subgroup.

Even though cybersecurity is one the most important issue in the international agenda, G7 declaration sounds quite predictable without introducing any important innovation in policies.

 

JAPAN CYBERSECURITY STRATEGY

What’s the framework of the country, the third economy in the world?

As most of the cybersecurity strategies, Japan adopted a white paper. The first edition was released in 2013, while a second one in september, 2015.

The Japan Cybersecurity basic act focus on govenerment led and non government actors.

Japan Cert and National Center of Incindent REadiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity are the responsible for developing national cybersecurity policy and ensuing the security of different public sector organizations, to put forward proposals as well the Basic Cybersecurity act.

Public – private partnership is another pillar of this strategy.

Surprisingly, for a country like japan, there are weak points, too, according to a Deloitte’s Asia Pacific Defence outlook 2016.

Japan is an aging country, and its population is quite unaware of the risks of cybercrime: the system as whole is weak because people don’t behave properly in the net.

There few efforts to promote domestic expertise on cyber issues.

Cooperation is a problem, too, because admitting of being attacked a behavior socially unaccepted: frauds or cyberattack are hidden to the community.

Island mentality is another element: japanese believe no threats can hit them because they live on an island protected by the sea. Obviously, it’s not the case when we talk about cyber attacks.

To sum up, Japan is an high-value target for its economic and technology power, and its policies and its approach toward cyber issues doesn’t seem fitting.

 

Leonardo Pizzuti

 

Growing digitisation in the EU

Innovation di

 

On 25th February, the European Commission published the result of the 2016 Edition of the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). Good news. Data show a general growth; however, we are still far away from the full development of our digital capabilities.

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What is the DESI?

The DESI is an online tool to measure the progress of EU Member States towards a digital economy and society. More than 30 indicators define the DESI and are grouped into five policy areas: connectivity (25 % of the total score), human capital/digital skills (25 %), Internet use (15 %), integration of digital technology (20 %) and digital public service (15 %). Indeed, this index is used to identify which sectors needs more investment in order to improve the country’s performance.

The index not only shows the general status of the European Union -still far from the level of digitalization of countries such as the US or Japan-, but also points out the considerable differences among Member States. Denmark, Sweden and Finland take the lead in Europe but they are also top countries in world rankings. At the very bottom are Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia: not only their DESI score is well below the EU average, but data show also a slower growth rate, which will increase the distance from the rest of EU members. The DESI, indeed, also shows the growth rate of the nation in the field of digital technologies. And here, once again, we can see a multi-speed Europe.

Some countries have a DESI score higher than the EU average, but also record a faster growth in the last year. We are talking about Austria, Estonia, Malta, Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands. Good growth rates also in Italy, Croatia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia and Spain, although their DESI score currently remains below average. However, according to analysts, there are good hopes for these countries to reduce the distances from the most digitally advanced countries. By contrast, a drop has been recorded in the growth of Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Belgium, Lithuania and Ireland, though they DESI scores are still high.

What should we do to improve the situation? Last year, the EU approved the Digital Single Market strategy, a set of initiatives that countries have to deliver by the end of 2016 in order to coordinate and standardize digitization processes in EU countries. This strategy is built on three pillars: improving access to goods and digital services for consumers and industries across Europe; create a favorable environment and equal opportunities for the development of digital networks; maximise the growth potential in the sector.

Apparently, the implemented strategy is paying off. 71% of European households now have broadband access at high speed (in 2014 only 62%), while the number of subscribers to mobile broadband has increased up to 75 contracts every 100 inhabitants (compared to 64 last year). It is true, however, that there is still a lot of work to do, especially in some sectors. As the DISE report points out, for example, almost 45% of Europeans do not have basic digital skills, e.g. the use of email or the main editing tools. The e-commerce is still far from being a reality for small and medium enterprises: only 16% of them sell their products online and only 7.5% across the border. Promoting online shopping is not enough: it is essential to encourage electronic commerce, by approving a better legislation to protect consumers, especially in cross-border shopping. Finally, the data on public services are not satisfactory at all. Despite a greater variety of services made available online by Public Administrations, it seems that only 32% of users actually use these platforms.

On one hand, therefore, it is important that the EU provides a coherent and effective legislation that protects both citizens and entrepreneurs; on the other, Member States must support the creation of the digital single market, investing in the most underdeveloped sectors and promoting the digitalization of civil society. Achieving this goal will revitalize the European economy in general and make our market more competitive, but it will also allow EU members to make the most of the untapped potential, creating new opportunities (especially across the border) for enterprises, but also for individuals.

 

Paola Fratantoni

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Security and privacy: the eternal dilemma

Europe/Innovation/Policy di

“Security and privacy. The eternal dilemma “. Sometimes it is so. Sometimes not. From a relative and business perspective, privacy is one of the fundamental aspects of security, meaning that a bug in the privacy system will involve considerable damage to the company and its customers.

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In the enterprise field, and in almost the whole world, the issue of privacy is recognized as one of the fundamental ones, which may imply – in the larger companies, the separation of the post of privacy “officer” or “consultant” from the most generic post of “security manager”. But from an absolute point of view, privacy and security are two titans destined for confrontation. What and how you oppose? Undoubtedly in Europe there is a double need: on one hand making Europe citizens grow and progress in terms of human rights and individual rights, and perhaps privacy, at first glance it would seem one of the most important individual rights almost to rise, nowadays, in the category of natural rights.

From another point of view, it is necessary that national and European institutions literally invade the privacy of residents and foreigners who apply to reside in the old continent. This, of course, for clear reasons of public order and security, in order to counteract the sad phenomenon whom every day we hear and read: from illegal immigration to migrants smuggling, from terrorism to money laundering.

And that’s why Europe is taking on regulatory instruments to govern on the one hand the duties / rights in the field of private citizens and, secondly, the duties / rights of the institutions towards the citizens. We are talking, respectively, of the Regulation and the Directive on Data Protection. “Regulation” and “directive” are two very general words, which bear far more complex legal and long nomenclatures, but, in the data protection background, interested people can immediately understand what they refer to.

In both normative sources, upcoming promulgation – it  seems that both measures have passed the steps of the discussion in trilogue – roles, responsibilities, recipients and “actors” of the data protection system and, consequently, privacy are defined and soon they will cover Europe, the United States and Third Countries. Much importance will be obviously assumed by the national controller authorities, which are already partly coordinated by the European Data Protection Supervisor.

From an operational point of view and spare change, however, it should change little, but it will be very useful once and for all to give uniformity to the individual national laws and procedures to provide common data access and litigation systems.

In any case, to date, the European and national institutions acting in the field of security are – in extreme and deep synthesis – legitimate holders of power related to the use, collection and retention of data, to fulfill their purposes and founding their institutional purposes. The so called “Swedish Initiative”, the “Prüm Decisions” are nothing more than legal attempts, already adopted or in the process of transposition in national law, in order to provide a better use of these information and their exchange between Authorities.

And this is the knot of the question: according to the European and national case-law, the compression of the right to privacy has so far been generally considered correct, if the same interest conflicts with higher interests, such as the right to life, or the principle that it must a crime must be prevented or brought to completion. In fact these – let’s call them philosophical – principles, are underlying the legislative existence of disparate databases – even if, some of them, are not yet operational – that support justice and European police forces in their daily mission of prevention and contrasting crime.

In this specific sector there have been fundamental judgments of the European Court of Justice who have disciplined and completely redesigned the architecture of data protection, especially in the economic relations with major US giants, which are in fact the monopoly of social communication and service providers online.

For example, think about the famous sentence on the “Data Retention” (to Security-vs-Privacy-420x300which we refer integrally) that made completely skip the agreements so far perfectly and “efficient” between EU and US. Before the sentence, every non-EU state, which managed European citizens’ data was in fact free to manage by itself: or rather, despite having to ensure an adequate data protection regime, it was quite free from forms of controls and inspections by the EU institutions. The  so called principle of the “Safe Harbour” proved to be insufficient to protect the privacy of citizens who entrusted to the giants of the global telematics their data, their own interests and their own photographs. Following the judgment, the “Safe Harbour” has been completely revised and replaced by a safer agreement called “Privacy Shield “.

European institution which is tasked with signing these agreements is the Commission. The agreement has developed has developed a new legal system putting, so to speak, “the stakes” for the United States, providing clear guarantees and transparency requirements applicable to access to data from the government of the US, by imposing specific obligations on companies and a robust application, providing effective protection of the rights of EU citizens with different possibilities of litigation and devising a mechanism of annual joint review of the effectiveness of the shield.

So, to sum up, Europe is not in contrast with common sense: on the one hand provides for the guarantee of the right to privacy issues and fundamental rights, on the other manages to balance strongly her action of collecting information necessary to safeguard of its citizens, defending its interests and its autonomy from friends across the Atlantic.

On this dilemma some very strong doubts remain, especially with regard to national legislation. Consider, for example, in countries where prostitution is illegal. Many political movements or currents of thought are clamoring for the legalization and the drafting of specific rules. A writer’s opinion is that a law in matter can never be enacted, precisely for reasons of privacy, even if the “prostitution” topic is touches many others: human rights, gender-based violence, exploitation, immigration, acts of disposal of his own body and so on.

If a law to regularize and reinstitute prostitution would issued, the same would conflict – without limitation – with rules requiring the accommodation lists to be communicated to the authorities (and thus to enter into the databases). Inevitably a client and a prostitute would be identified, and a profile of the people who attend the same prostitute or who usually frequents that area could equally be traced or, worse, sexual habits (which are, for now, quite rightly, a as sensitive) could be profiled. Again, it is essential for the authorities to know hotel customer records (that can be crucial in resolving judicial and investigation cases) and hotel owners are oblige to communicate them.

Here the dilemma: to protecting the public interest or  the individual interests?

Domenico Martinelli

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Kuwait delays the Eurofighter deal

Innovation di

 

A contract for 28 Eurofighter aircraft was to sign on 31st January between Italy and Kuwait. As an Italian Ministry of Defence source referred, the signature was delayed for “procedural reasons”. No leak about next meeting.

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The contract follows a memorandum of understanding signed between the Italian Minister of Defence Roberta Pinotti and the Kuwaiti colleague Khaled al-Jarrah al-Sabah in September 2015. According to the document, Kuwait has ordered 28 Eurofighter Typhoon (22 single-seat and 6 twin-seat) for a total value of 8.7 billion dollars. Announced deadline in 20 years.

The Eurofighter Consortium is driven by aerospace and defence industries of four European countries: Germany and Spain (Airbus), United Kingdom (BAE System) and Italy (Finmeccanica). But it’s the Italian company to grab the contract with Kuwait. Over 50% of the value of the deal will be earned by Finmeccanica, which will provide the design, development and production of the aircraft (Alenia Aermacchi) but also the on-board electronic systems (Selex ES).

The deal signed with Finmeccanica ends a negotiation begun in 2010, after Kuwait decision to replace the existing fleet of F-18 Hornet held by its air force. Initially, the choice fell on a new fleet of F-18 Super Hornet produced by the United States. However, repeated delays in the acquisition induced the emirate to opt for the Eurofighter programme. It is likely this choice also hides military and strategic considerations.

The F-18 is a swing-role, twin-engine and supersonic fighter, able to carry air-to-air and air-to-land weaponry. Though employed for several tasks (aerial recognition, close air support, interdiction and fighter escort), the F-18 is mainly a fighter-bomber and was introduced in Kuwaiti armed forces after the Gulf War.

Despite sharing similar features with the F-18 (both are twin-engine and multi-role aircraft), the Eurofighter Typhoon is primarily an air interdiction and air superiority fighter. Faster and more manoeuvrable, the aircraft is provided with electronically scanned array radar and advanced navigation, discovery and attack sensors. Technologically advanced munitions, mainly designed for air-to-air combat, complete the technical specifications of the aircraft, which has already shown its value in different operational theatres, such as Libya or the Baltic States.

Al-Shabab’s choice to rely on Eurofighter seems to reflect a national strategy aimed to strengthening the defensive military capabilities rather than the offensive ones. Twenty-eight air-superiority fighter jets will ensure greater safety in Kuwaiti skies, given their ability to intercept enemy aircraft or planes illegally entering Kuwait’s air space. Indeed, high speed and manoeuvrability make the Eurofighter the ideal candidate to intervene, should an imminent threat from neighbouring countries arise. Considering Kuwait geographical position and the level of insecurity that characterises the Middle East, Kuwaiti decision does not sound that inappropriate.

Kuwait’s urgency in reaching a deal first with the US, then with Italy, shows a feeling of uncertainty and the necessity to strengthen its military assets, in the view of a deterioration in the regional environment. After latest delays due to caveats about pilots’ training (Kuwait has agreed to train its pilots in Italy and not in the UK as initially requested), last obstacle is the approval from the Audit Court of Kuwait, which –apparently- didn’t have enough time to evaluate the final terms of the deal (Best and Final Offer, BAFO). As Minister Pinotti highlighted, during Wednesday meeting in Rome the Kuwaiti Minister of Defence has reiterated the willingness to sign the deal as soon as possible.

On its side, Italy has all the reasons to hold on such a commitment. First, a 20-year contract with a Middle Eastern country gives Italy the chance to reinforce its presence in a key strategic area, rich of commercial opportunities. Secondly, the contract gives Finmeccanica a significant economic momentum. As gen. Tricarico, former Chief of the Italian Air Force, states, “the contract is particularly important because it allows maintaining production lines -which would have fallen into disuse over years-, thus allowing also keeping jobs and know-how skills”. Finally, Italy’s leading role in the deal will have a two-fold benefit on our country: on one hand, it will allow Italy to gain weight within the Eurofighter consortium; on the other, a renewed confidence in its capabilities could lead Italy to rethink its position in the international affairs.

 

Paola Fratantoni

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France: new NH90 for Operation Barkhane

Defence/Innovation/Politics di

The Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), the French defence procurement agency, confirms the acquisition of six additional tactic transport helicopters (Caiman model) from NH Industries, the Italian-French-Dutch industrial group owned by Finmeccanica, Airbus and Fokker. The delivery has been scheduled between 2017 and 2019.

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These new acquisitions are part of a more comprehensive renewal program to increase the helicopter fleet up to 74 Caiman units (44 of these to be delivered by 2019). The target is to reach, by the end of 2025, a fleet of 115 tactical NH90 helicopters, goal set in the Defence and Security White Paper in September 2013. As Guillaume Faury, President and CEO of Airbus Helicopters, highlights, “French armed forces have deployed the NH90 operationally in Mali, where its outstanding endurance, versatility and manoeuvrability have been greatly appreciated”.

The decision follows the request from the Army Air Corps to strengthen the capabilities of Operation Barkhane, in Africa. Last January, Gen. Oliver Gourlez de la Motte, chief of the Army Air Corps, announced the service goal to strengthen its forces, by providing 10 additional helicopters to the fleet, to be chosen between both attack and transport models. Last month, indeed, the DGA has ordered from Airbus Helicopters 7 Tiger attack helicopters, which will be delivered between 2017 and 2018.

The aim is to improve the capacity of French armed forces to conduct air-land operations in the Sahel region, in Sub-Saharan Africa. The NH90 has already been deployed in several operational theatres, showing capabilities and characteristics that make it an important resource for French forces engaged in Operation Barkhane. First of all, as already mentioned, its versatility. The NH90 can be employed in response to different tactical needs:

  • Troop and light armament transport, as it can carry up to 20 soldiers or 2.5 tonnes armaments;
  • Casualty evacuation with 12 stretchers;
  • Cargo airlift;
  • Combat, search and rescue operations.

Moreover, the additional equipment allows it to fit various needs that might arise in the operational theatre. The NH90 is provided with an automatic pilot and fly-by-wire (FBW) controls, a system that replaces traditional manual controls with an electronic interface. This reduces the workload for pilots, and makes the NH90 easier to manage. In addition, night vision sights, armor protection and electronic counter-measures make it suitable for combat operations.

These characteristics show how this vehicle becomes essential in an environment such as Sub-Saharan Africa. As we know, Operation Barkhane is a counter-terrorism operation, led by France in the Sahel region since August 2014, with Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Chad as participating countries. The aim is to contrast the presence of jihadist militants in the region, supporting the efforts of partner countries and to prevent the creation of terrorist sanctuaries. The 3000 soldiers engaged in the mission are based in two permanent fields, one in Gao (Mali) and the other in N’Djamena (Chad). Detachments are sent to temporary bases, located in the mission’s participating countries, from where missions to support their soldiers are launched. Therefore, it is clear how troop and armament transport is necessary to conduct the operation. Moreover, the particular environment –temperature, geographical and territorial conformation, etc.- is a key factor in elaborating interventions. The NH90 proves to be suitable for the African environment, given its endurance and versatility, which is essential in areas where difficulties and resource scarcity might undermine the aim of the mission and the lives of the soldiers involved. “The additional order of six NH90- says Guillaume Faury-…confirms the essential role that new-generation multi-role helicopters play in modern operations”.

It seem that attacks and threats to French nation and security have not changed its commitment towards foreign operations, in particular in missions targeting Islamic terrorism. By contrast, those elements, which proved to be effective, have been strengthen and pressure is made to the Government in order to reinforce French military capabilities. It is not just a matter of number of forces available but also – and most of all- of quality and technology, which have to be suitable for the type of environment and threat that soldiers are facing.

 

Paola Fratantoni

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Paola Fratantoni
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