The French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) has contracted Dassault Aviation to integrate three of its Falcon 8X aircraft with Thales’ CUGE universal electronic warfare capability, under the Archange program launched to strengthen France's signals intelligence (SIGINT) capabilities.
“The contract awarded on 30 December 2019, covers the first two aircraft on the programme. CUGE will ultimately be deployed by three Falcon X aircraft, built by Dassault Aviation, to replace the two Transall C-160 Gabriel aircraft in service with the French Air Force from 2025,” Thales said in a statement.
Thales will produce all the sensors for the SIGINT payload and integrate the overall system on board Dassault Aviation's Falcon 8X aircraft. These new technologies will enable the system to detect and analyse radar and radar signals simultaneously for the first time, in particular thanks to Thales's multi-polarisation antennas and the use of its artificial intelligence technologies to automate data processing.
The information collected by the systems will then be analysed by monitoring and intelligence specialists and fed into armed forces databases. The programme also includes a ground-based training platform.
The tri-jet Falcon 8X is the latest addition to the Falcon range. The business jet version can carry 8 passengers and 3 crew members over a distance of 6,450 nm (12,000 km). It is equipped with an EASY digital flight deck and the totally unrivalled FalconEye combined vision system (CVS).