The Eurosatory exhibition, “backroom of everything that fuels the Russian-Ukrainian war”

French army soldiers next to a “Griffon” armored vehicle during a demonstration at the Eurosatory international land and air defense and security exhibition, in Villepinte (Seine-Saint-Denis), Sunday June 16. VALENTINE CHAPUIS / AFP

Lhe cannon thunders in Ukraine, 2,500 kilometers from Paris, and its echo is heard as far as Villepinte (Seine-Saint-Denis), where the world’s largest land arms show is being held, from June 17 to 21 . With more than 2,000 exhibitors from 61 countries – Russia is obviously excluded, but also Israel for its war in Gaza – Eurosatory is the back room of everything that fuels the Russo-Ukrainian war, a high-intensity conflict. unknown in Europe since 1945: cannons, drones, surface-to-air missiles, satellite constellations, cyber defense… Equipment with effects multiplied by artificial intelligence (AI).

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Things have evolved a lot since the 2022 show, that of “astonishment” post-Russian invasion in Ukraine, according to General Charles Beaudouin, commissioner of Eurosatory. The one where the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, called on the 4,000 companies in the defense industrial and technological base to get involved. “war economy” to produce “faster, stronger, at lower cost”. They are driven by the increase in military spending that began after the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 and accelerated since 2022. Countries have devoted 2,056 billion euros to it in 2023, and the effort will continue from now until now. at the end of the decade.

The evolution is also noticeable in the materials on display. The equipment of structuring programs (armored vehicles, etc.) absorbs the bulk of defense budgets, but “remotely operated munitions” (drones, anti-drone systems, etc.) have never been so present in theaters of operations. Never has AI helped the military so much to process as quickly as possible the mass of data arriving at them from ever-increasing sensors on equipment to better strike enemy tanks, artillery batteries and command centers. Innovation cycles have never been so short, as illustrated by the chase between the Russians and the Ukrainians. And never before have large groups eyed tech nuggets so much, like Safran, on the verge of buying the specialist in satellite image reading by AI Preligens.

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