The French procurement agency Direction générale de l'armement (DGA) has authorised the transfer of the first two upgraded Dassault Atlantique 2 (ATL2) maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) to the French Navy, the French ministry for armed forces announced on 24 October.
Eighteen out of the 22 ATL2 MPAs operated by the French Navy will be upgraded to the new version called 'Standard 6'. The upgrade is comprehensive and should allow the aircraft to operate until 2030.
The upgrade programme includes the development of a new combat system called 'Logiciel de traitement de l'information operationelle nouvelle génération' (LOTI-NG). The system is used to establish a tactical picture based on data gathered by the aircrafts' various sensors. New digital operator stations have replaced the original analogic equipment.
Another major improvement is the upgrade of the acoustic treatment subsystem called 'Sous-système de traitement acoustique numérique' (STAN). This system is able to operate more sonobuoys than its predecessor and scan a broader range of frequencies. The system can also operate the most recent US sonobuoys including in the multistatic mode. The Wescam MX-20 electro-optical (EO) turret has also been integrated (the same one used on board the Boeing P-8A Poseidon). This system had already been mounted on some ATL2s, but it wasn't integrated into the combat system. With the Standard 6 upgrade, various operators are able to simultaneously access the images provided by the MX-20.
The last major element of the Standard 6 upgrade is the integration of the Thales Searchmaster Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. According to Thales, this multirole surveillance radar offers the highest level of operational performance. The French Navy will also receive a new mission preparation tool and simulator.
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