French Defence Minister Florence Parly announced an order on 19 November for an initial seven (of an anticipated programme total of 12) aircraft – based on Dassault’s FALCON 2000LXS – for the Maritime Surveillance and Intervention Aircraft (AVSIMAR) programme.
To be delivered from 2025, the FALCON 2000 ALBATROS aircraft will feature a belly-mounted multifunction radar, a high-performance optronic turret, observation windows, a search and rescue kit release system and dedicated communication systems. The contract commits Dassault Aviation to a guaranteed availability clause, favouring industrial support in close cooperation with Navy personnel, for 10 years.
"The FALCON 2000 ALBATROS is a high-performance aircraft equipped with a mission system and sensors of the latest generation. From the FALCON 20 of the US Coast Guard to the FALCON 2000MSA of the Japanese Coast Guard, as well as the FALCON 200 GARDIAN and 50M of the French Navy, we have extensive experience in maritime surveillance, in addition to our long experience in maritime patrol with the ATLANTIQUE,” commented Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation Chairman and CEO. “Several countries have shown interest in these aircraft, which provide an effective response to the considerable challenges of homeland protection and maritime security and government action at sea: fighting pollution and trafficking, surveillance of borders and exclusion zones, fisheries policing, search and rescue at sea, etc. It is only fitting that France, which has the world’s second largest exclusive economic zone, should be at the forefront in the use of this type of aircraft.”
The first FALCON 2000LXS aircraft on which the programme will be based will be manufactured in France. The remainder will be produced in India, as part of the offset arrangements related to the 2016 RAFALE contract. Conversion of the 12 FALCON 2000LXS aircraft to the ALBATROS configuration will be conducted in France.
These multi-role FALCON aircraft perfectly illustrate Dassault’s dual civil/military know-how; they benefit from the cutting-edge technologies developed for the company’s combat aircraft and, at the same time, take advantage of the industrial processes used for the highly competitive production of its business jets.