Unmanned platforms are becoming widespread in reconnaissance missions. Despite this, manned recon still remains important. Combat jets can easily be turned into reconnaissance aircraft thanks to plug-and-play reconnaissance pods.
According to the statement made by the French Ministry of Defence, Rafales were deployed for reconnaissance tasks in the Middle East geography within the scope of the fight against ISIS. The platforms are equipped with RECO-NG discovery-observation pods for these tasks.
Rafale jets deployed in the region within the scope of the Operation Chammal also carried out an air strike on two buildings thought to belong to ISIS near Kirkuk.
The RECO-NG (Reconnaissance Pod-New Generation) system can be used in intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance missions thanks to its imaging equipment. The pod, 4.6 meters long and weighs 1,100 kilograms, is positioned under centerline station of the fuselage of Rafale. RECO-NG, which has different electronic and electro-optics for day and night tasks, was developed by the Thales. The system, which can be used in autonomous mode, uses the multi-sensor image processing and dissemination method. The pod has the ability to transfer the obtained data and captured images instantly.