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Software developer: from FELIN to Patroller, two Safran engineers share their experiences

Human resources

Ten years after the FELIN1, Safran Electronics & Defense is once again contributing to network-centric warfare with the Patroller2, thanks, not least, to its expertise in software systems. We caught up with Alexandre Ducrocq, FELIN Software Products Manager, and Fabrice Ferrand, Patroller Technical Officer in charge of software activities, to find out more.

3D loom : carbon fiber

What does your job involve?

A. D.: I oversee the FELIN security management module and touch-screen tablet. I coordinate a team of internal and external developers, which covers a pretty broad scope: analysis of specifications, proposal of solutions, implementation, integration and lasts processing of test results. I also handle part of the project management side of things.

F. F.: I coordinate a team of software architects and subcontractors working on the entire Patroller sub-system (ground control, transmission, aerial vehicle). My field of expertise ranges from handling the statement of requirements, design, development, integration and industrialization, right up to certification. I also provide support to teams with a view to sharing my specialist knowledge.


What challenges do you come up against?

A. D.: The FELIN has undergone numerous developments since it entered into service, which means we need to capitalize on the existing system while introducing innovations (patches, new features, etc.). The main technical challenges we come up against involve the mapping engine, data security and ergonomics. It's also important to focus on the big picture in order to anticipate the disruptive technologies of the future.

F. F.: The Patroller is incredible complex due to the array of features it has. It's a scalable system, which means it can incorporate new features. Lastly, it will be certified for autonomous flight. Our teams take up such challenges every day, without forgetting the fact they stick to a very tight schedule.


In addition to these challenge, what do you enjoy most about your job?

A. D.: The teamwork and discussions with internal teams or with customers or subcontractors.

F. F.: The melding of expertise (sights, actuators, software, mission planning system, ground control, transmission, etc.) and the fact that I'm able to share specialist knowledge with teams.


What career path did you take within the Group and what do you think the future holds?

A. D.: I was employed at the end of my end-of-study internship, three years ago now. With a real fascination for everything related to aeronautics and defense, I was attracted by this high-tech group which offers numerous career development opportunities. I'd like to continue working in this job while branching out and getting involved in other projects.

F. F.: I joined the Group 16 years ago now. Since joining, I've held several, very varied positions while remaining in my field of expertise. In relation to my career path, I'd say that I've always sought new experiences, and I'd like to continue doing this.


1 Fantassin équipements et Liaisons Intégrés (Integrated Infantryman Equipment and Communications). Infantry soldier system currently used by the French Army.

2  Tactical UAV set to enter into service in late 2018.


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