The French defence procurement agency, délégation générale pour l’armement (DGA) has placed orders for a demonstrator next-generation laser designation pod (PDL NG) with Thales.

The laser designation pods is a targeting system designed to improve accurate target acquisition day or night and will feature a daylight mode, enhanced detection and identification algorithms and a new positioning capability.

The €31m programme called MASTRID falls under a multicontext airborne system targeting, recognition and identification programme, which aims at enhancing the all-weather detection and identification capacities of the Damocles air-to-ground pods currently used by the French Air Force.

New target acquisition and laser designation pods will be provided for Mirage 2000 and Rafale fighters beginning in 2014.

The pods will take their first flight trials on a Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft within the next three years.