Thales has received a contract from the French defence procurement agency DGA to develop the New Generation Laser Designation Pod (PDL NG).
Capable of being integrated with both the Rafale and Mirage 2000D fighter aircraft, the Thales-built PDL NG will offer the French air forces with new day/night imaging and engagement capabilities in composite theatres of operations.
The latest contract award follows the completion of a risk-reduction phase, which is a first step in the development of any programme and is focused on confirming the system’s architecture, its high level of functional integration, reliability and the development schedule.
The risk-reduction phase was carried out through 2013, with series production anticipated to commence in 2018.
Thalesoptronics business vice-president Gil Michielin said that the PDL NG is the result of close and constructive collaboration between specifiers, users and Thales.
Michielin said, "It will provide air forces an effective and competitive system.
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"The award of the development contract confirms the government’s support for France’s airborne optronics sector and its engineering and industrial capabilities."
Image: Series production of Thales’ generation laser designation pod is scheduled to commence in 2018. Photo: courtesy of Thales.