As part of the operational evaluation (EVALOPS) of the modernized Atlantic 2 (ATL2) Standard 6, and despite the current health restrictions due to Covid-19, the ATL2 detachment from the Naval Aviation’s Center for Practical Experimentation and Reception (CEPA/10S) carried out several weeks of intense training and qualification activities from its new duty station on the Lann-Bihoué Naval Aviation Base. Successively missions flown in anti-submarine, anti-ship and air-land warfare configuration allowed the evaluation of the new sensors, but above all allowed several crews to train and qualify on this new aircraft standard. Atlantic 2 weapon system is intended to allow the operational employment of the aircraft beyond 2030.
The ATL2 has been in service for twenty or so years, and has undergone several retrofits. A renovation operation is in progress (2019-2025), 18 out of the 22 ATL2 Standard 5 operated by the French Navy are upgraded to the new version called ‘Standard 6’. This intensive activity was completed in early June with the successful firing, just two days apart, of a self-designated GBU-12 laser-guided bomb and of an AM39 Exocet anti-ship missile. The upgrade is comprehensive and should allow the aircraft to operate until 2030. The upgrade programme includes the development of a new combat system called ‘Logiciel de traitement de l’information operationelle nouvelle génération’ (LOTI-NG).
Another major improvement is the upgrade of the acoustic treatment subsystem called ‘Sous-système de traitement acoustique numérique’ (STAN). This system is able to operate more sonobuoys than its predecessor and scan a broader range of frequencies. New radar Thales Searchmaster Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. According to Thales, this multirole surveillance radar offers the highest level of operational performance to detect stationary and moving maritime targets, including in high sea states, at ranges up to 200 nautical miles (air-to-sea). The Wescam MX-20 electro-optical (EO) turret integrated into the combat system.
The Breguet Br.1150 Atlantic is a long-range maritime patrol aircraft designed and manufactured by French aircraft manufacturer Breguet Aviation. Designed in response to a 1958 NATO specification as a replacement for the Lockheed P2V Neptune, Breguet’s submission was declared the winner over several competing bids. To produce the Atlantic, a multinational consortium, Société d’Étude et de Construction de Breguet Atlantic (SECBAT), was established. An updated version, the Atlantique 2 (ATL2) was produced by Dassault Aviation for the French Navy in the 1980s. Other operators of the Atlantic have included the German Navy, the Italian Air Force, the Pakistan Navy, and the Royal Netherlands Navy.