Thales has received a contract from the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) to install Airborne Electronic Reconnaissance System (ASTAC) tactical reconnaissance pods onto the French Air Force’s of Mirage 2000D combat fighters.
The contract covers all modifications required for interfacing ASTAC pods with the aircraft, including adaptation to the platform and adjustments to countermeasures systems present inside the pods.
Following integration, which is scheduled to complete in 2014, the Mirage 2000D fleet will be able to assume tactical reconnaissance missions that are currently carried out by the Mirage F1CR.
The Mirage F1CR is scheduled to retire from service in 2014.
The ASTAC pods, carried under the aircraft fuselage, are designed to provide electronic intelligence (ELINT) and tactical reconnaissance capability for the F4 Phantom, Mirage F1 and Mirage 2000 and also hold electronic countermeasure systems to update the overall battlefield situation.
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Designed to operate in dense electromagnetic environments, the pods use sophisticated algorithms to determine precise location and parameters of the detected electronic signals.
The pod features interferometers associated with DF receivers, wide-band digital receivers for high-speed processing of agile emitters as well as for high resolution parameter measurements and EW Processors for accurate analysis of radar signal, identification and emitter geo-locations.
An upgraded version of the Dassault Mirage 2000N, the Mirage 2000D is a conventional attack multirole combat fighter designed to conduct automated bombing using conventional and laser guided munitions.
The fighter can carry all major dumb munitions including iron bombs, Belouga cluster bombs, Durandal runway breaker bombs, BAP 100 and BAP 120 clusters, Matra 68mm rocket pods, and cannon pods.
The French Air Force used the aircraft to conduct operations in Afghanistan from 2001-2002 as well as during Operation Harmattan, followed by the UN led Operation Unified Protector in Libya in March 2011.
Image: A French Air Force Mirage M2000 leaves from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, US.