The French Air Force’s first Avion léger de surveillance et de renseignement, or Light Surveillance and Intelligence Aircraft (ALSR), arrived on August 6, 2020 at Air Base 105 in Evreux (Normandy).
Operated by the Airborne Electronic Squadron (EEA) 1/54 "Dunkirk" as well as by crews from the Air Force Command (CFA), it is specially equipped to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. VADOR will participate directly in the protection of France and its citizens.
In particular, it will be deployed in external operations, in direct support to deployed forces, and will also participate in the permanent posture of air security mission (PPS-A), above France. Finally, like its big brother, the Transall C160 Gabriel, it will be able to carry out strategic intelligence missions in areas of interest to France.
Based on a Beechcraft King Air 350 twin-engined civil aircraft, the VADOR will complement current Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.
Thus, the objective is to carry out collaborative missions by combining information obtained by other aircraft, such as the Transall C160 Gabriel, drones, Rafale or other aircraft operated by the sister services.
Five people will make up the VADOR crew: two pilots in the cockpit and an intelligence officer, plus an operator tasked with intercepting "signals" and another to operate the optronic sensor ball fitted to the rear of the aircraft.
The EEA 1/54 "Dunkirk" Squadron will benefit an expansion of its capabilities this summer, as three Transall C160Rs will accompany the two Transall C160 Gabriel (dedicated EW/ELINT aircraft—Ed.) in their missions abroad and ensure their in-flight refueling.
At the same time, the EEA 1/54 "Dunkirk" will host the Crew Training Squadron (EIE) within its walls, and is now participating in the definition of the Archange project (New Generation Useful CHArge Intelligence Aircraft), a program launched in November 2019 and aimed at equipping the forces from 2025 with Falcon 8X aircraft equipped with a "Universal Electronic Warfare Capability" (CUGE).