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Dassault and Thales to Build the Next SIGINT Plane

The French Defence procurement agency, Direction Générale De L’armement (DGA) has awarded the Archange (formerly known as Epicure ) airborne strategic intelligence program to Dassault Aviation and Thales. The total value of the contract is unknown. This program will see three Dassault Falcon 8X being fitted with Thales electronic intelligence technologies. 

Falcon Archange will detect electromagnetic signals emitted on the battlefield, allowing the French army to evaluate the number and type of enemy forces to use the appropriate countermeasures.  It is coded as signal intelligence or SIGINT

The initial order covers the first two Dassault Falcon 8X aircraft. With the first plane expected for 2025, they should eventually replace the two Transall C-160G Gabriel aircraft currently operating in the French Air Force.

The contract was awarded on December 30, 2019, the DGA announced on January 14, 2020. Thales and Dassault Aviation are now tasked with equipping the future French Army strategic intelligence aircraft with “Universal Warfare Capacities” (CUGE).

Thales developed its new CUGE sensor specifically for the French military, allowing the interception of radio and radar emissions simultaneously. Multi-polarization antennas will be integrated into the airframe, as well as artificial intelligence technologies that allow for improved data processing.  The program also provides a ground training platform.

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