The French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) has placed an order with Thales for targeting long-range identification optronic system (TALIOS) pods.

Under the firm order, Thales will deliver 21 additional TALIOS pods and equip them onto the French Rafale F4 standard aircraft.

Developed by Dassault Aviation, the Rafale F4 aircraft is operated by the French Air and Space Force, and the Navy.

Thales Land and Air Systems executive vice-president Christophe Salomon said: “The TALIOS pod’s new reconnaissance modes and automatic target detection and recognition algorithms will provide the French armed forces with an unprecedented level of operational superiority.

“Rafale pilots will be able to make better decisions with even greater speed at every decisive moment of their missions to detect, classify and safely engage a target and assess the results of a ground or surface strike.”

The order for additional pods comes after the initial order was placed by DGA for 46 TALIOS systems.

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According to Thales, the initial order will be fulfilled before the delivery of additional systems begins.

Delivery of the 21 additional TALIOS pods is expected to take place between 2024 and 2025.

The high-resolution sensors of the pods provide coloured pictures of the tactical situation to the pilots.

The additional pods will have a new Vision Permanent mode developed recently by Thales.

Since its first delivery in 2019, the French forces have deployed the TALIOS-equipped aircraft on several expeditionary missions.

Last year, Thales also received an order from DGA to provide avionics equipment for the French Rafale aircraft.