France receives 11th modernized ATL2 maritime patrol aircraft

According to a tweet published by the French MoD on April 20, 2023, the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) has received the 11th ATL2 modernized.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 French Dassault ATL2 maritime patrol aircraft. (Picture source: Dassault)

The Atlantique 2, also known as the Atlantique Nouvelle Génération or ATL2, is an updated variant of the Bréguet Atlantic maritime patrol aircraft, currently in service with the French Navy.

The aircraft is powered by 2 Rolls-Royce Tyne RTy.20 Mk 21 series turboprop engines, each developing 6,100 horsepower, enabling it to achieve a maximum speed of 400 miles per hour and a cruising speed of 200 miles per hour.

It has a ferry range of 5,635 miles and a mission endurance time of up to 18 hours, allowing it to operate at altitudes from 100 feet up to 30,000 feet through use of a pressurized cabin and flight deck. The aircraft has a rate of climb of 2,900 feet per minute.

The Atlantique 2 has undergone several retrofits since it entered service, with the latest upgrade being the Standard 6. This upgrade includes a comprehensive overhaul of the aircraft's combat system, which features a new tactical picture system called LOTI-NG, new digital operator stations, and an upgraded acoustic treatment subsystem called STAN. The aircraft's armament has also been upgraded to include 2 Exocet AM-39 missiles and 6 MU90 Impact torpedoes.

The Standard 6 upgrade also includes the integration of a new Thales Searchmaster Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, which has the capability to detect stationary and moving maritime targets at ranges up to 200 nautical miles (air-to-sea).

The radar can also support ground surveillance operations. The French Navy has also received a new mission preparation tool and simulator, as well as new navigation and tactical display subsystem consoles.

As of December 2022, half of the French Navy's 18 Atlantique 2 aircraft have been upgraded to the Standard 6 version, with upgrades for the remaining aircraft to continue until 2024.

The upgraded aircraft have an extended service life, enabling Atlantique operations to be extended to around 2032. The Atlantique 2, now known as the ATL2, is frequently used in Africa as a backup to ground forces.