The French Armed Forces are ready to order the first seven “Albatros” maritime surveillance and intervention aircraft (AVSIMAR), the country’s defense minister Florence Parly announced on November 19.
AVSIMAR will be based on the Dassault Aviation Falcon 2000LXS twin-engine jet.
In accordance with the multiyear military spending bill (LPM), the initial order is for seven out of a total of 12 aircraft. Deliveries are scheduled to start from 2025.
The first Falcon 2000LXS aircraft on which the program will be based will be manufactured in France. The remainder will be produced in India as part of the offset arrangements related to the 2016 Rafale contract. The conversion of the 12 Falcon 2000LXS aircraft into the Albatros configuration will all be carried out in France.
The Falcon 2000 Albatros will feature a multifunction radar under the fuselage, a high-performance optronic turret, observation windows, a SAR (search & rescue) kit release system and dedicated communication systems.
In line with the aeronautical maintenance transformation policy initiated by the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, the Albatros contract commits Dassault Aviation to a guaranteed availability clause, favoring industrial support in close cooperation with navy personnel for 10 years.
“The Falcon 2000 Albatros is a high-performance aircraft equipped with a mission system and sensors of the latest generation. From the Falcon 20 of the US Coast Guard to the Falcon 2000MSA of the Japanese Coast Guard, as well as the Falcon 200 Gardian and 50M of the French Navy, we have extensive experience in maritime surveillance, in addition to our long experience in maritime patrol with the Atlantique“, said Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.
“Several countries have shown interest in these aircraft, which provide an effective response to the considerable challenges of homeland protection and maritime security and government action at sea: fighting pollution and trafficking, surveillance of borders and exclusion zones, fisheries policing, search and rescue at sea, etc. It is only fitting that France, which has the world’s second largest exclusive economic zone, should be at the forefront in the use of this type of aircraft.”
Announcing the contract, defense minister Florence Parly said the AVSIMAR will be capable of staying in the air for 8 hours and will be able to detect a ship 24 hours before it arrives off France’s coast.