France to Develop Next-Gen EW and ELINT Aircraft

Universal Electronic Warfare Capability – CUGE: Launch of New Intelligence Aircraft Program

(Source: French Armed Forces Ministry; issued Feb 28, 2018)

(Issued in French only; unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)

France will procure three electronic warfare and intelligence aircraft based on an as-yet unidentified Dassault Falcon business jet to replace the two Transall Gabriel transport aircraft (pictured) it presently operates in this role. (FR air force photo)

On February 28, Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, convened a Ministerial Investment Committee which decided to launch development of the Strategic Intelligence Aircraft Program "Universal Electronic Warfare Capacity" (CUGE).

This new program will provide a new sensor to the French forces, allowing simultaneous interception of radio and radar emissions. Benefiting from almost 10 years of studies on advanced technologies, this new sensor developed by Thales will be integrated on a Falcon business aircraft built by Dassault Aviation.

Endowed with an ambitious, innovative and comprehensive mission system, three CUGE strategic intelligence aircraft, instead of two as initially planned, will replace from 2025 the two Transall C-160 Gabriel currently in service, as decided by the Armed Forces Minister during the preparatory work for the 2019-2025 military program law (LPM).

They will reinforce existing electromagnetic intelligence capabilities, and contribute to the particular effort on the "knowledge and anticipation" function of the French forces.

A guarantee of France's decision-making autonomy, and its superiority during operations, the reinforcement of our intelligence capabilities - which will be programmed by the LPM 2019-2025 - is one of the priorities of the defense strategy defined by the President.

For France to remain a credible player, it must have a complete and balanced armed forces model, capable of fulfilling its missions through a dual ambition:

-- What is indispensable today: to give back to the armies, and in priority to the women and men who make them live and act, the means to fulfill their missions in a sustainable way.

-- What is needed tomorrow: to prepare the future of France's defense by 2030 and help build the defense of Europe. The launch of the "CUGE" program is part of this requirement.

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The Falcon Epicure to Serve the French Air Force

(Source: Dassault Aviation; issued March 1, 2018)

SAINT-CLOUD, France --- The French Ministry of the Armed Forces announced its decision to award Dassault Aviation the contract for the integration, on three Falcons, of the Universal Electronic Warfare Capability developed by Thales (Epicure program).

Dassault Aviation and the dozens of French companies associated with the Falcon programs wish to thank the Ministry of the Armed Forces, the Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) and the French Air Force for their confidence.

The required level of performance of the Epicure Falcons necessitates highly complex integration work, something that is at the core of Dassault Aviation know-how, of its role as industrial architect and of its partnership with Thales.

"I am very proud and happy with the decision of the Ministry of the Armed Forces. The Falcon Epicure will serve the French forces in the same way as the Falcons 10, 200, 50, 2000, 900 and 7X are already doing it,” declared Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation. “The military Falcons provide the perfect illustration of the dual competences of Dassault Aviation: our civil aircraft benefit from the cutting-edge technologies developed for our combat aircraft, which in return benefit from the industrial processes deployed for the highly competitive production of the Falcon aircraft."

Exported to more than 90 countries, the Falcon aircraft are flexible and economic to fly. Their handling qualities, aerodynamics and versatility render them capable of fulfilling missions that go beyond civil aviation standards. They are designed by the design office that also develops the Mirage, Rafale and nEUROn combat aircraft.

Over the last 50 years, Dassault Aviation has customized many Falcons for purposes such as medical evacuation, cargo transport, maritime surveillance, etc. These multirole aircraft represent about 10% of the Falcon fleet in service across the world.

With over 10,000 military and civil aircraft delivered in more than 90 countries over the last century, Dassault Aviation has built up expertise recognized worldwide in the design, development, sale and support of all types of aircraft, ranging from the Rafale fighter, to the high-end Falcon family of business jets and military drones. In 2016, Dassault Aviation reported revenues of €3.6 billion. The company has 12,000 employees.

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