The French Navy (Marine Nationale) receives fifth upgraded Atlantique 2 (ATL2) Long-range Maritime Patrol Aircraft. The ATL2 upgraded b y Dassault Aviation, Thales and Naval Group was delivered by French Directorate General of Armaments (Direction générale de l’armement; DGA) to the French Navy at the Lann-Bihoué naval air base on May 21. Work is expected to include deep structural refurbishment, in order to extend service life to around 2032.
The Atlantique 2 (ATL2) is the direct descendant of the Breguet Br.1150 Atlantic and produced by Dassault Aviation for the French Navy in the 1980s. A further improved model, the Atlantique 3, was proposed during the 1990s but ultimately unbuilt. Other operators of the Atlantic have included the German Navy, the Italian Air Force, the Pakistan Navy, and the Royal Netherlands Navy. The ATL2 has been in service for twenty or so years, and has undergone several retrofits.
In French service, 18 modernised Atlantique ATL2 are being equipped with various new avionics and onboard sensors. Such systems include the Searchmaster derived from RBE2-AA active electronically scanned array radar developed for Dassault Rafale, new digital acoustic processing systems, a Thales-manufactured identification friend or foe system, and DCNS-developed LOTI combat mission software. The French Navy are upgraded to the new version called ‘Standard 6’.
The last major element of the Standard 6 upgrade is a 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 French Navy also receive a new mission preparation tool and simulator.