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C4iSR: Air

France launches realisation phase of SIGINT aircraft programme

22 November 2019
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The French ministry for the armed forces has officially launched the realisation phase of the ARCHANGE Programme on 18 November.

Concept art of the Dassault Falcon 8X ARCHANGE aircraft that France is developing for the SIGINT role. (Ministere des Armees)Concept art of the Dassault Falcon 8X ARCHANGE aircraft that France is developing for the SIGINT role. (Ministere des Armees)

Under this project, Dassault Aviation and Thales will deliver three Falcon 8X aircraft equipped with a signals intelligence (SIGINT) payload. The ARCHANGE programme, which stands for Avions de Renseignement à CHArge utile de Nouvelle GEnération, is conducted by the Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA) with the first aircraft being delivered from 2025.

These modified Dassault Falcon 8X ARCHANGE aircraft will carry the Capacité Universelle de Guerre Electronique (CUGE) payload. According to a French ministry for the armed forces press release, this payload is the result of ten years of studies by Thales. Designed to intercept radio and radar signals the CUGE payload will incorporate new technologies based on artificial intelligence for the automatic processing of signals. It will also feature multi polarisation antennas.

The Falcon 8X is a business jet powered by three Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307D engines. With a maximum take-off weight of 33,113 kg (73,000lb) it has a range of 6,450 n miles according to Dassault.

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