Of innovative water packs and ear-plugs

As promised yesterday in our article outlining the DGA’s 2016 Innovation Day here are four projects which prove yet again that the size of a system is often inversely proportional to its complexity and its usefulness: SACAD’EAU, BANG, SALAMANDRE and a project to develop silent propellers for micro-drones.



The Sacad’eau system. The French name is a play on words. A “sac-à-dos” is the French term for a backpack. By modifying the spelling of the last word and turning it into “eau” i.e. water, the name becomes “bag for carrying water” instead of “bag to be carried on one’s back” (photo credit: DGA/COLCOM/LERES/EHESP)

Because there is no life without water, COLCOM, a small company in southern France, partnered with the Laboratory for studies and research into the environment and health (LERES) and the University for Public Health (EHESP), to develop the next generation flask. Three years later they had developed the Système Autonome de Capture pour l’Analyse et la Décontamination de l’EAU (or Sacad’eau) which is an autonomous device to get drinking water from a contaminated source and conserve the contaminants for analysis once the mission is over. The prototype already eliminates 99.99% of bacteria and viruses, between 45 to 95% of toxins and conserves 75% of bacteria for later analysis.


Le prototype de bouchon actif créé pour BANG (Crédit: DGA/ISL/Laboratoire COTRAL)

The prototype of the active earplug developed for BANG (photo credit: DGA/ISL/Laboratoire Cotral)

BANG (Bouchons Auriculaires de Nouvelle Génération), or new-generation earplug, aims to improve hearing protections for the military whilst at the same time increasing their capacity to communicate and perceive their noise environment. Launched this year by the Franco-German Saint-Louis research institute (ISL) and the Cotral laboratory, BANG is a made-to-measure, 3D printed earplug equipped with microphones and speakers directly connected to a module which treats damaging noise. This module could be completely integrated into existing or future communication tools, such as a smartphone or the RIF individual radio for the Félin soldier system. The Cotral laboratory has already launched production of a first series of 30 prototypes, to be tested operationally in 2017 with the STAT, the army’s technical evaluation service which must validate all equipment before it is accepted by the armed forces.


The acronym prize has to be awarded to an advanced, multi-bandwidth HF communication system: SALAMANDRE (Système Avancé pour Liaisons HF Adaptatives Multi-bANDes Rapides et Efficientes), launched in January 2014 with the aim of enabling long distance communications without recourse to a satellite. Thales, the innovative scientific engineering design office Noveltis, Rennes University’s Institute of electronics and telecommunications, and Telecom Bretagne pooled their know-how to develop a high frequency radio which has a flow 10 times faster than existing systems. Entirely automatic, SALAMANDRE will enable soldiers deployed in the middle of an ocean or desert, not only to telephone but also to exchange messages and data securely. A demonstrator, which has already been successfully tested in laboratory conditions, is currently being evaluated in real conditions. A final version of SALAMANDRE will then be delivered and installed on the DGA’s naval technologies site in the Mediterranean port of Toulon between now and the end of the project scheduled for March 2017.


L'un des modèles de pale furtive étudié par Ronan Serré et Supaero (Crédit photo: Ronan Serré/ISAE-Supaero/DGA)

One of the models of the stealthy propeller studied by Ronan Serré and Super (photo credit: Ronan Serré/ISAE-Supaero/DGA)


As silence is golden in intelligence missions here is a project to develop silent, stealthy propellers for micro-drones presented by Ronan Serré, as part of a thesis at the Aerospace University (ISAE-Supaero) in Toulouse. Since November 2015 his objective has been to conceive a complete methodology including steps of digital prediction, optimisation and evaluation to conceive “stealthy” propellers. A successful test campaign has already led to a reduction of 5dB in sound, in other words less than half the sound level that he started out with. Between now and November 2017 the basic models will be broadened to enable, amongst other things, the study of more complex geometry and to look at the question of multi-rotor drones or RPASs (remotely piloted air systems).