The French Air Force accepted delivery of its first Avion léger de surveillance et de renseignement (ALSR – Light Surveillance and Intelligence Aircraft) at the Evreux air base in Normandy on 6 August, the French MoD announced on 27 August.
Based on the Beechcraft KING AIR 350 with an ISR mission fit, the aircraft – dubbed VADOR – will be deployed in domestic airspace protection missions as well as in support of external operations. Like it big brother, the C-160 GABRIEL dedicated EW/ELINT platform, it will be available to fulfil strategic ISR missions at need.
Typical VADOR crew will consist of five personnel: two pilots, an intelligence officer, an intercept operator and an optronic sensor systems operator. The squadron operating the new aircraft (EEA 1/54 ‘Dunkerque’) will provide the facilities for crew training and is already participating in the ARCHANGE programme, launched last November, which aims to provide modified FALCON 8X aircraft with the CUGE (for Universal EW Capability) system with effect from 2025.