Eurosatory 2018

Generally speaking, the Eurosatory 2018 was a disappointment to me because I hoped for much more novelties than were shown. I recognised most portable equipment and even many of the vehicles from Eurosatory 2008.

This is kinda representing the spirit of innovation there
Here's a photo album of 300+ photos from Monday and Tuesday:

Sorry about the many early blurred photos. Lots of indoor photos are blurred but almost all outdoor photos are clear despite the wind. I suspect the brochures bag that often dangled from my left arm caused the blurring.

Many photos of hardware have some related context photo (designation, often specs) very nearby. Often times there was simply no such thing to make a photo of.
I used a cheap, old type smartphone with a 5 MP camera. Many photos were repeated because I didn't trust the 1st try. Photobucket failed to upload some photo files and I don't know why.

Someone got creative in the quest for attention.
The #1 hardware novelty was almost certainly Nammo's design for a ramjet 155 mm shell that's supposed to fly 100 km far with a decent payload (there's a lengthy presentation in the photo album about it). They clearly hope to exceed what Leonardo offers with its 155 Volcano design. A question remains; why put so much effort into teaching 155 mm to fly far with good or great precision if it's much easier to pull off with a fin-stabilised guided rocket launched from a multiple rocket launcher or even a plain box?

The #1 software novelty was likely Rafael's Fire Weave (though there's also some dedicated hardware involved). I talked a lot to a Rafael representative, and will likely write more about it later.

Nexter showed off some Leopard 2 hull / Leclerq turret hybrid (which I utterly ignored as I only paid attention to the turret), and its stupidity. They seriously showed off vehicles and guns to the public at a trade fair, but also spent on having almost one guard per project who angrily pointed at tiny 'no photographs' signs.

Even more hilariously stupid, some other exhibitors posted 'no photographs of vehicle underside' signs at indoor vehicles. I can't tell if they were serious (stupid) or actually trying to redirect attention to the belly.

The displayed drones were unimaginative, and thus I didn't pay much attention to them.

There was a weird, near-total absence of infrared-only ILLUM and multispectral smoke products on the trade fair.

I call this "the Matrix camouflage pattern".
Noptel and Junghans: I asked them about their old optical fuse design. Noptel (original inventors, now a subsidiary of FNH) hinted that it was too expensive, Junghans flat-out claimed that it never worked (mistook clouds for the ground), but admitted that it might be about time to look at the jamming-proof concept again since technology advanced. Well, at least the representative admitted this after I pointed out that one could simply couple the proximity fuse with an electronic timer that is programmed to activate the fuse only for the last 50 or 100 metres and the Shortstop fuse jammers had evolved into many rather widespread IED jammers, proliferating the concept. The Junghans rep did express extreme confidence in their RF fuses' ECCM at first, though.

I asked a representative of a well-known small arms red dot sights and night vision sights producer about the NATO (accessory) rail and especially what's going on regarding a powered NATO rail, since the products were marketed as Picatinny rail-compatible (NATO rail is backwards compatible to this, but Picatinny rail is inferior). He know nothing about either, and after some explanations he finally got the idea why a powered rail with a central battery in the grip and potentially even data transfer between accessories may be a fascinating idea. Seriously; he was supposed to be the expert.

A representative of a big armoured glass producer knew nothing about some old basic research into non-shattering armoured glass. I showed him some infos, he's going to look it up. Flabbergasting.

Lots of other reps answered my questions by telling me exactly what I had already guessed based on incomplete info. 

I noticed something for the very first time about the Ultimax 100; the (drum) magazine is too close to the trigger for resting my index finger straightly. That's uncomfortable and bad for trigger discipline. I compared this to some other displayer LMGs and the problem didn't exist anywhere else, so this isn't my index finger's fault.

The M4 Carl Gustav feels incredibly light on the shoulder, likely because the centre of gravity (unloaded) is only about 15-20 cm in front of the shoulder. The SAAB rep couldn't tell whether the USMC would buy many more M4 to get enough for its new infantry squad TO&E, as customers apparently often buy old CG versions even when a newer, better one is available. BTW, SAAB guarantees a life of 1,000 shots with SAAB munition for the M4. The rep signalled no interest in a slip ring version of the HEAT munitions, even though it could eliminate spin almost entirely and thus increase armour penetration.

A reusable Instalaza C90 - I didn't have this on my radar before. It blows the M4 CG out of the water with its weapon weight (3.5 kg, about half that of the M4 CG), but munition weights and calibre are extremely close. It's a choice for land forces that do not insist on the smaller dispersion of the CG's HE shells at longer distances, I suppose. (The C90's barrel is smoothbore, while the M4 CG's is rifled.)

That Dragon C thermal sight that I had in the list for ultralight infantry is actually available in a 640x480 pixel version with the same weight already.

Spike SR is confirmed to lack top attack mode due its lack of a movable IIR sensor (it cannot look at a sufficient off-boresight angle for a top attack flight profile; it would lose the lock-on). It can supposedly fly to 2,000 m (Rafael first claimed 800 m effective range, then 1,500, then 1,800, now again 1,500. Supposedly, they do now market is as having 1,500 m range to not chip away at the case for Spike MR). 1,500 m is apparently its tank ID distance ("ID" as the user can tell a tank from a car at that distance - identification is likely the main argument in favour of the heavy command launch unit used with Spike MR).

Those Cockerill 105 mm turrets with 42° maximum elevation have the potential for indirect fire, but aren't really prepared for it in any way other than their huge maximum elevation. Indirect cannon (cannon ~ fixed cartridge case) fire is a capability that customers could demand and get with little additional development work. There's no fire control for indirect fires, no dedicated munition types, no preparations for manipulating the propellant power (the easiest method would be semi-fixed cartridge cases that allow to add or remove propellant charge modules).

I discussed ballistic helmets with a rep, but got no answer for my question why nobody tries to bring a soft, foldable helmet (that could conveniently be stored close to the hip) into the market. I suppose it might work with soft body armour textile layers and foam trauma pads, at least up to a frag protection rating equivalent to what the 1...1.1 mm thin steel helmets offered (enough to protect against falling bullets and fragments from distant explosions in the air). I suppose that such a soft helmet / ballistic hat might be carried along by troops who would otherwise just use a hat for convenience.

Some brochure photos:

just a Brahmos anti-ship missile brochure

backpack radio jammer (mobile phones and tactical radios),
RF fuse jammers look similar (see the classic 90's Shortstop)

Some (apparent start-up) passive exoskeleton, not yet optimised for low own weight

Slovakian LORANA FOG missile equivalent.
The drawing is extremely similar to a drawing in an ALAS brochure.

ultralight thermal sight (clip-on or stand-alone with digital zoom)
all-round through-armour vision system

Apparently, there are three ways how to provide an AFV crew with all-round under armour vision.
#1 is to do what was done in the AH-64  ages ago; single sensor that turns to look the same direction as the (one) user. Nobody seems to pursue this approach any more.
#2 is to have a box on top with multiple staring cameras that provide 360° vision, even to a helmet-mounted display of multiple crewmembers.
#3 is to have distributed sensors, but they provide no seamless vision to helmet-mounted displays. They can rather feed screens only, and are thus similar to panoramic mirrors.

I suppose #2 will be the preferred retrofit solution, while #3 makes more sense for new AFV designs where you can integrate the sensors into the outside, rather than occupy the roof with yet another pole and box that provokes sniping.

still the same Sentinel product

some data on Sentinel
lighter than M4 Carl Gustav, but lacks the rifling

The representative gave me this without me wanting it. Well, have a look at the maximum target velocity: Mach 2
Fast-moving warheads don't expel their fragments exactly to the sides; the combination of outward fragment velocity and forward velocity leads to a cone-shapes fragmentation pattern (or continuous rod pattern). This is important, as you need to get the timing right against targets that approach very fast from the front. You might miss those if the fuse acts too late. The FREMEN fuse appears to do just that against faster than Mach 2 missiles. I don't quite understand why they push this info with a marketing brochure.

SPACIDO, a very promising fuse for 155 mm HE shells.
Some South Korean very light personal role radio (intrasquad radio)

Intrasquad radios are likely the biggest improvement of infantry in the past 30 years. The in-service models are anything but small or lightweight, though. I don't think that the South Koreans are technology leaders, but these brochure photos can give you an idea about how capable, small and lightweight such radios can be.

a bit heavier, thus a bit more capable

This would be rather for fire team or section leaders.

Laser module for burning small drones.
Have a look at the operating temperature range if you like that idea.

Flexible ballistic neck protection. Better than to use your hands for it when prone.

One of the most important army items.

Some digital press kits:


P.S.: I'm visible on one of the photos; the good-looking dude with the camera. :-)


  1. Thank you very much for your efforts.

  2. I suppose the folding helmet idea, while sound, might run up against the tendency of militaries to put NVGs on the top of them.

    A flexible helmet also poses the engineering challenge of how to properly rig the helmet's suspension on the skull.

    It sounds like a really solid idea though. I think a set up with a memory metal spring might give the necessary folding action while keeping its shape when unfolded. Not sure how this will affect weight and cost.

    1. The folding helmet idea is relevant to support troops who would rather not wear a heavy helmet for weeks or have one on their chest or belt all the time. The suspension issue could be solved by designing the cushions appropriately. The whole thing wouldn't need to be wholly flexible - just foldable to a comfortable size. It might even be attached to a belt (directly) when not needed.

  3. How big / how important in comparison to other themes was stealth for ground units at this event ? How much room was used for stealth technology for ground units ?