24th December 2015

Holidays!

A British soldier holds up a can of Christmas pudding at snow-covered Neulette, France, 1917.

© IWM (Q 6401)

Many of you will be on holiday over this end-of-year period and so will we! We’d like to take this occasion to wish all our readers a Happy Christmas for those of you to whom it means something and Happy Holidays for those of you to whom it doesn’t. To all of you we wish […]

Belgium adopts Strategic Defence Plan for 2030

“Fewer personnel in exchange for more investment”, such is the credo defended by the Belgian Defence Minister Steven Vandeput in his “Strategic Defence Plan”

“Fewer personnel in exchange for more investment”, such is the credo defended by the Belgian Defence Minister Steven Vandeput in his “Strategic Defence Plan” for 2030 adopted on Tuesday 22 December 2015 by the Kingdom’s Select Ministerial Council. “I would like to thank the government for its courageous decision to invest in defence. Security is […]

Firing demo in Portugal

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by Nathan Gain and Christina Mackenzie   The continuation and end of our tour of Nexter’s Ammunition Business Group. Developing and producing a munition logically includes testing which involves a series of live firings. After three days of “theory” in Italy, France and Belgium, we moved onto the “practicals” organised by MECAR on the test range […]

Seven Tigers ordered for French Army Aviation

The HAD Tiger helicopter. Photo credit: A. Pecchi/Airbus Helicopters

The DGA French Procurement Agency on 17 December ordered seven Tiger combat helicopters from Airbus Helicopters for the French Army’s aviation arm, the ALAT. The order was placed via OCCAR, the European joint organisation for arms procurements.     This acquisition will give the ALAT a fleet of 67 Tigers which was the final objective […]

Continuing our visit to ABG: MECAR

The MECAR site south of Brussels.

The second stage of our discovery of Nexter’s Ammunition Business Group is described in the text “Cooking up ammunition” posted on 17th December which recounts our visit to Nexter Munitions in the centre of France. From there we moved north to the heart of Belgium’s Brabançonne region for the third stage of our European tour […]

Visiting Nexter’s Ammunition Business Group

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  We went off to discover a division of Nexter that is as strategic as it is discreet, the Ammunition Business Group (ABG) made up of France’s Nexter Munitions, Italy’s Simmel Difesa and Belgium’s MECAR making ABG one of the companies with the most complete portfolio of ammunition in the world: as of mid-December 2015 […]

Cooking up ammunition

Part of the production unit at the Nexter plant in La Chapelle Sainte Ursin

If you were a deer or a boar you might wander through a dense but well-kept wood in the middle of France and munch on some grass on the strange, rather steep hillocks dotted around here and there, stepping unhindered underneath silvery pipes, pleased that the tidy roads are so empty. But if you are […]

Newco is dead, long live Honosthor !

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Some 72 hours after the secret marriage of popular Belgian singer Stromae with his long-time girlfriend, it was the turn yesterday (15th Dec.) of Nexter Systems and KMW (Krauss-Maffei Wegmann) to tie the knot after a five-month engagement announced in July. A new land defence group has thus emerged now that the French and German […]

Taking ammunition apart

The machine that renders explosives inert

Question of the day: what does one do to get rid of conventional ammunition that has gone past its “use-by” date? And the answer is not: “well, just fire them all off!” No, one applies the three Rs: Recovery, Re-use, Recycle. And Europe’s newest such plant, owned by Simmel Difesa in Alagni, Italy, is just firing […]

Interview with General de la Motte: part 2

Major General Olivier Gourlez de la Motte, commander of the French Army Light Aviation (ALAT)

Yesterday we published the first half of our exclusive interview with Major General Olivier Gourlez de la Motte, commander of the ALAT. Here is the second half: But in Libya there were no ground troops and yet helicopters participated intensely in the Harmattan mission. That is a fair remark. I would look at the question […]