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France launches maritime surveillance aircraft definition study
Falcon 2000 MRA. © Dassault Aviation

France launches maritime surveillance aircraft definition study

Dassault has received a contract to perform a detailed definition study for the Avsimar maritime surveillance and response aircraft.

The French defence procurement agency DGA has awarded Dassault Aviation a detailed definition study contract for the Avsimar maritime surveillance and response aircraft.

The DGA says that the contract is part of a global effort to streamline the acquisition and support of special mission aircraft based on Dassault Falcon bizjets.

A first phase of the programme has already identified the best technical solution, based on the Falcon 2000LXS, which is faster and more durable than the aircraft currently in service.

The Falcon 2000 Avsimar is likely to feature a belly-mounted Thales Searchmaster radar, optronics turret, observation windows, SAR equipment dispenser and dedicated communication systems.

The recently awarded study contract, which has a duration of 12 months, is intended to lay the groundwork for an order to be placed in 2020. The study will define the modifications needed to fulfill the wide range of operational surveillance and maritime intervention missions.

The Avsimar programme aims to renew the air component of the French Navy dedicated to the surveillance and intervention at sea. This mission is currently performed by 8 Falcon 50Ms and 5 Falcon 200 Gardians, which will have seen nearly 40 years of service when they are replaced.

The French multiyear military spending bill for 2019-2025 provides for the delivery of the first three aircraft by 2025.

Dassault had previously presented its Falcon 2000 maritime multi-role aircraft (MRA) — also based on the 2000LXS and already selected by the Japan Coast Guard — as its candidate for the Avsimar programme.

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