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French Navy receives fifth refurbished ATL2 maritime patrol aircraft

French Navy ATL2 MPA
Photo: DGA

The French Navy has taken delivery of another Atlantique 2 maritime patrol aircraft that are receiving significant upgrades under a program led by the French defense procurement agency DGA.

The fifth ATL2 to receive the “Standard 6” upgrade was handed over on May 21. DGA delivered two modernized ATL2s to the navy in 2019, one in 2020, and one in February this year. Another airframe is scheduled for delivery at the end of the year.

The modernization, referred to as the Standard 6, includes a new Thales Search Master radar with active antenna, and an acoustic subsystem to gather and process signals from air-dropped sonobuoys for submarine detection. Dassault Aviation has designed a new navigation console for the upgrade, while the consoles for the tactical display subsystem have been developed by the SIAé aeronautical maintenance center.

The upgrade work is performed by Dassault Aviation and Thales (co-contractors), in association with Naval Group and in cooperation with SIAé.

A total of 18 ATL2s are being upgraded under a contract from 2013. SIAé will upgrade 11 aircraft, while Dassault Aviation is responsible for delivering the remaining airframes.

The standard 6 upgrade improves the ATL2s’ capability to deal with modern threats (future nuclear or conventional submarines, naval forces at sea, etc.) and to support air-land missions, until 2030. The aircraft have been in service with the French Navy since the late 1980s, and are expected to be succeeded by the Maritime Airborne Weapons System (MAWS) aircraft that is poised to be undertaken by Germany and France.