Towards Initial Operational Capability of the Atlantic 2 Standard 6
(Source: French Navy; issued June 17, 2020)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
The Dassault Atlantique maritime patrol aircraft upgraded to Standard 6 configuration has completed the ‘weapon’ portion of its operational evaluation by the French Navy, and is nearing Initial Operational Capability (IOC). (French Navy photo)
As part of the operational evaluation (EVALOPS) of the modernized Atlantic 2 (ATL2) Standard 6, and despite the current health restrictions due to Covid-19, the ATL2 detachment from the Naval Aviation’s Center for Practical Experimentation and Reception (CEPA/10S) carried out several weeks of intense training and qualification activities from its new duty station on the Lann-Bihoué Naval Aviation Base.

Successively missions flown in anti-submarine, anti-ship and air-land warfare configuration allowed the evaluation of the new sensors, but above all allowed several crews to train and qualify on this new aircraft standard.

This intensive activity was completed in early June with the successful firing, just two days apart, of a self-designated GBU-12 laser-guided bomb and of an AM39 Exocet anti-ship missile.

After the validation launch of an MU90 torpedo carried out at the end of 2019, these last two firing by the detachment’s evaluation crew concluded the “armaments” portion of the operational evaluation (EVALOPS), and to attain new milestones necessary towards the future Initial Operating Capability of the Atlantic 2 Standard 6.

The Atlantic 2 is one of the few aircraft in service in the world designed specifically for armed anti-submarine warfare. It thus contributes to ensuring the autonomy and security of the Strategic Oceanic Force, as well as to protecting a naval force at sea against both underwater and surface threats.

It participates in the control of the naval environment both under and on the surface, from the littoral zone to the open sea, but can also support the air-land operations thanks to its capability to carry out intelligence missions and air-strikes on ground targets. The modernization of the Atlantic 2 weapon system is intended to allow the operational employment of the aircraft beyond 2030.

Furthermore, the modernized ATL2 Standard 6 adds a new combat system and modern sensors: radar, optronics and digital acoustic processing system. The Atlantique 2 Standard 6s are thus fitted with a new radar using the latest technology from the Rafale’s active antenna radar.

In line with the Mercator plan, which sets the roadmap towards a cutting-edge Navy, the Atlantic 2 Standard 6 allows French Naval Aviation to return to the relatively closed circle of high-performance maritime patrol aircraft, particularly in the field of submarine tracking.

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