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Thales to equip Falcon 2000 Albatros aircraft for French Navy

According to a press release published by Thales on September 20, 2021, Dassault Aviation has awarded Thales a contract to provide its SEARCHMASTER® surveillance radar and the mission navigation system for the AVSIMAR program to renew the French Navy's fleet of maritime surveillance aircraft. The program includes the acquisition of 12 Falcon 2000 ALBATROS aircraft to replace eight Falcon 50 M and five Falcon 200 Gardian aircraft that will be withdrawn from active service between 2025 and 2030.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Falcon 2000 XLS aircraft (Picture source: Dassault Aviation)

With the growing density of maritime traffic, threats such as fast inshore attack craft and jet-skis used by pirates and other illegal operators are an increasing cause for concern in every part of the world, including France's areas of interest. Best-in-class maritime surveillance capabilities therefore need to be deployed in coastal and littoral areas to detect and track these intelligent, agile targets in all sea states and visibility conditions.

The ALBATROS aircraft will rely on Thales equipment to conduct maritime surveillance and intervention missions to meet these requirements.

Thales equipment and systems on board the ALBATROS will include the jam-resistant mission navigation system, which will provide the aircraft's onboard sensors with extremely precise positioning data to meet operational requirements on civilian missions and in hostile military environments. Connected to the aircraft's mission system, the Thales solution includes the TopAXYZ inertial navigation system, the TopStar 100-2 military GPS and the TopShield CRPA anti-jamming system.

SEARCHMASTER combines state-of-the-art combat proven technologies, generic hardware design with the experience of generations of fighter and maritime surveillance radar to deliver a unique multirole capability and huge growth potential through software upgrade. Customers have access to large catalogue of sea, land and air surveillance functions to meet their mission requirements.

SEARCHMASTER multi-role surveillance radar offers the highest level of operational performance, whatever the mission or host platform. In the maritime space, ultra-quiet submarines pose a continuing threat, whilst the use of small fast-attack craft and jet skis by pirates and other illegal operators is an increasingly serious concern. In large land areas, search and track a small moving vehicle or fixed objects of interest or along extensive borders is a great challenge while in the air there is an increasing need for surveillance against illegal traffic using small aircraft.