Sébastien Lecornu, new Minister of the Armed Forces, will be happy to hear it. It is in his stronghold of Eure – where he has retained the presidency of the Departmental Council – that will now be manufactured all the bulletproof vests produced by Protecop: one of the major players in the hexagonal ballistics industry. Founded some forty years ago, this family-run SME has made a name for itself by developing the very first full-body law enforcement uniforms known as Robocop. Almost a decade after having created a factory in Tunisia (150 of its 200 employees), it relocated part of its activity in the Normandy bocage.
Taking advantage of an endowment of half a million allocated as part of the Recovery plan, it is repatriating to its historic site in Bernay the production of bullet-proof vests that it manufactured from the Maghreb for the forces of order and French and foreign armies.
” It is not a question of stripping Tunisia to dress France, but of securing the supply of these strategic products to meet the challenges of sovereignty. “, specifies Emmanuelle Hoebanx, its commercial director.
Objective: to better anticipate the regular tensions that the market for bulletproof vests undergoes due to security events on the international scene.
“From the eye to the French market”
By hoisting the tricolor, the company does not hide the fact that it also hopes to claim some good points in future calls for tenders from the ministries of the armed forces and the interior. ” We keep an eye on the French marketadmits Emmanuelle Hoebanx. Because when you equip the police forces of your country, it is easier to export “. By the way, the person concerned recalls having had a bad experience of an episode that occurred 4 years ago. To At the time, the Directorate General of Armaments had rejected the candidacy of the Norman company in favor of an Irish competitor. Which had entrusted to an Asian subcontractor the manufacture of the 300,000 bulletproof vests ordered by the DGA.
” It is hopeless “, had commented Pascale Le Carpentier, president of Protecop following this disappointment by castigating a code of public markets “ more royalist than the king “. Four years later, the commercial director drives the point home on the eve of going to the Eurosatory show where she should meet some government representatives. ” The support of the Recovery plan is precious, but we need public procurement, otherwise our new factory risks running empty. “, she warns.
While waiting for any good surprises from the central Parisian administrations, the SME (€10 million in turnover, 60% of which is exported) is continuing its development abroad. His main target? Latin America, where it opened a sales office and recently won a large contract with the military police of Sao Paulo (Brazil) for the supply of 15,000 bulletproof vests. Which are being manufactured in Bernay.
After investing 600,000 euros in R&D in 2021, it has also just equipped itself with a ballistic test bench equipped with an impulse cannon to test in situ the bullet resistance of its equipment. ” It is an installation that few of us have and which will allow us to respond more quickly to calls for tenders. thanks to its proximity to the new manufacturing workshops“, welcomes Emmanuelle Hoebanx. Another way to protect your back.
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