The French Navy is planning to recapitalise its maritime surveillance force with the introduction of the Dassault Aviation Albatros - a customised Falcon 2000LXS business jet - under the AVion de Surveillance et d'Intervention MARitime (AVSIMAR) programme.
Albatros deliveries to the French Navy are planned to start in 2023, while phase out of the legacy Falcon 200 Gardian aircraft is due to begin the following year.
The Aéronautique Navale currently has three different Falcon business jet variants in service, comprising the Falcon 10MER, Falcon 200 Gardian, and Falcon 50Mi/Ms. These aircraft have an average age of 38 years.
The service's six Falcon 10MERs have recently been upgraded and will remain in service with Escadrille 57S at Landivisiau for the foreseeable future in the training and VIP transport roles. Meanwhile, the four Falcon 50Ms (Maritime surveillance) aircraft are currently being modified with a hatch that will allow them to drop marine markers and survival rafts, bringing them to a configuration close to that of the four Falcon 50Mi (Maritime intervention) variants.
Although not fully identical to the first four Falcon 50s, they will also receive the designation Mi as a result, with all eight aircraft to remain in service with Flottille 24F at Lann-Bihoué. All eight aircraft are due to be fitted with the Safran Euroflir 410 forward looking infrared (FLIR) turret that will replace the outdated Chlio FLIR. The Euroflir 410 will also equip the future Albatros.
According to Rear Admiral Guillaume Goutay, the Commander of the French Naval Aviation, the new Albatros will be very close in configuration to the Falcon 2000LXS aircraft that were recently ordered by the Japanese Coast Guard. "The delivery of the first Albatros will allow us to test all its systems, including its radar, its FLIR turret, its radios, and its satcom," he told Jane's .
Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options at ihsmarkit.com/janes