On November 29, 2018, the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) took delivery in Mérignac (Gironde) of the first Falcon 50M aircraft equipped with a rescue hatch for maritime rescue equipment. In parallel, the DGA awarded Dassault Aviation the order for the retrofit of this release hatch on the other three Falcon 50Ms of the in-service fleet. Two aircraft are expected to be equipped in 2019 and the final one in 2020.
The French Navy operates a fleet of aircraft for air surveillance and maritime reaction missions, consisting of five Falcon 200 Gardian based overseas and eight Falcon 50M based at the Lann-Bihoué Naval Air Station, near Lorient.
The fleet of Falcon 50M is divided into four Falcon 50 Mi *, capable of dropping "Search and Rescue" (SAR) rescue equipment, markers or buoys, and four Falcon 50 Ms **, so far without this rescue capacity at sea. The contracts awarded by the DGA to Dassault Aviation will make it possible to homogenize this fleet by 2020.
With a range of more than 6,000 km and high speed, the Falcon 50M performs maritime surveillance and intervention missions as part of the French state's action at sea (maritime search and rescue, fight against maritime pollution, support for police operations at sea).
* Falcon 50Mi: Falcon 50M intervention.
** Falcon 50Ms: Falcon 50M SURMAR. These are four Falcon 50B aircraft, modified between 2013 and 2016 (including integration of observation windows, an Ocean Master 100 radar and an infrared optronics) to be assigned to the Navy as part of the streamlining of the SURMAR fleet.