The Portuguese Army (Exército Português) is since many years developing a soldier system project called Soldado do Futuro.

With a local defence industry not capable to provide in country made sub-systems like light weapons, electronic devices, miniaturized communication systems, observation sights, helmets or even special clothing like tactical and ballistic vests, protection pads, armoured panels and combat boots or as well as another tools, a mature soldier system like the French Army FELIN (Fantassin à Équipements et Liaisons Intégrés) could be a solution.

The French Ministry of Defence procurement agency DGA (Direction Générale de l´Armement) has ordered a total of 22,588 FELIN Version 1 systems to Sagem (part of SAFRAN Group). Deliveries are scheduled to be completed in 2014. Production of FELIN Version 2 is planned to begin in 2015, including all the required updates needed by the combatants.

FELIN system comprise current French Army light weapons including the Nexter Systems FAMAS 5.56mm assault rifle, FN Herstal SA MINIMI 5.56mm light machine gun and the Nexter Systems FR-F2 7.62mm sniper rifle which are fitted with SWORD T&D (also called FAMAS Infra Rouge or FIR) and SWORD SNIPER day/night sights from Sagem.

It is understood that the French Army are to be equipped with a new assault rifle which mean that the weapon to be purchased are to receive the FELIN sights. A Sagem personnel in charge with training activities said to TGSthat the HK 416 rifle from Heckler & Koch GmbH is seen as a perfect solution for integration with FELIN.

Equipments providers includes SIOEN Industries (tactical and ballistic vests and clothing), Koninklijke TenCate NV (ballistic panels), Extrema Ratio SAS (multi-purpose bayonet), Source Vagabond Systems Ltd (hydration system), Elno France (OH 395 osteo-microphone), MSA (helmet), L-3 EOTech Inc (type 552 holographic weapon sight), Ouvry SAS (NBC mask and clothing), Victorinox (multi-purpose knife), Lukas Meindl GmbH & Co KG (combat boots), Radial (antenas), Protecop SA (hand, elbow and knee pad), SAFT and Le Planchais (bateries), Rostaing SA (protection gloves) and Thales Angenieux (Minie D night vision google).

Main contractor Sagem delivers the JIM MR (Jumelle Infrarouge Multifonctions Medium) and JIM LR (Jumelle Infrarouge Multifonctions Long Range) handheld multifunction infrared binoculars, the infantryman embedded HMI terminal, the commander SITComDe (Système d´Information Terminal du Combatant Débarqué) terminal information system and as well as the RIF (Réseau d’Information Fantassin) radio communications and information system. The company is also responsible to receive all sub-systems at its factory in Poitiers prior to deliver them to the French Army.

The company has been recently awarded a contract from the DGA to develop and deliver from 2013 an improved RIF system called RIF NG (Réseau d’Information du Fantassin de Nouvelle Génération). Compared to the current RIF system, the RIF-NG new-generation soldier information network will provide new services in addition to the phone and data functions that are already available, including radio relay, encryption and transmission protection.

The FELIN modular concept is attracting some countries including Brazil, Russia and the United Arab Emirates. The deployment to Afghanistan theatre of French Army soldiers fitted with the FELIN system is planned to be held by the end of 2011.


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