The French Ministry of Defense is expected to select the a system architecture and design team to lead the development of the transformational ‘Scorpion’ program – the French Army’s 10 billion euro ($13.2 billion) modernization program. Scorpion will integrate advanced weaponry and network-centric technology to empower the French land forces’ legacy equipment, enabling battle groups of tomorrow to maintain battlefield dominance through the next decade. The current definition of the architecture phase is expected to lead the DGA to launch the request for proposal by 2012 for an advanced armored combat vehicles expected to be the principal new platform of the Scorpion program. Other elements are expected to comprise a variety of unmanned systems of different sizes.
The Scorpion program is budgeted about five billion euros for the first decade, covering the architecture design, development of the next-generation net-centric battle management system known as SICS V1, and the development of three new armored fighting vehicles – the VBMR multirole armored vehicle that will come in two weight categories – a heavy (20 ton) and light (11 ton), and the EBRC, a 25-ton light tank. Modernization of legacy equipment will also be part of the program, including the Leclerc main battle tank and VBCI armored infantry vehicle.
Three teams competed for the Scorpion program, headed by EADS, teamed with the U.S. company SAIC, a consortium of French companies including Thales, Safran and Nexter and a team led French defense electronics and communications consortium CS France partnered with Ineo, an engineering group specializing in security and defense, a subsidiary of the GDF Suez group.