The Falcon 8X Archange to Serve the French Air Force
(Source: Dassault Aviation; issued Jan. 14, 2020)
Dassault Aviation has won a contract for the first two of three Falcon 8X Archange airborne strategic intelligence aircraft, which will be equipped with Thales’ new universal electronic warfare capability (CUGE) payload. (Thales image)
SAINT-CLOUD, France --- On 30 December 2019, the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) ordered the Archange airborne strategic intelligence program, comprising three Dassault Aviation Falcon 8X aircraft equipped with the Thales new-generation payload CUGE (universal electronic warfare capability). A contract has been awarded for the first two aircraft.

Dassault Aviation and the dozens of French companies associated with the Falcon programs wish to thank the Ministry of the Armed Forces, the DGA and the French Air Force for their confidence.

The required level of performance of the Archange Falcons necessitates highly complex integration work, something that is at the core of Dassault Aviation and Thales know-how.

“I am very proud and happy with the decision of the Ministry of the Armed Forces. The Archange Falcon will serve the French forces in the same way as the Falcons 10, 200, 50, 2000, 900 and 7X are already doing it,” declared Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.

“The special mission Falcons provide the perfect illustration of the dual competences of Dassault Aviation: our civil aircraft benefit from the cutting-edge technologies developed for our combat aircraft, which in return benefit from the industrial processes deployed for the highly competitive production of the Falcon aircraft.”

The tri-jet Falcon 8X is the latest addition to the Falcon range. The business jet version can carry 8 passengers and 3 crew members over a distance of 6,450 nm (12,000 km). It has digital flight controls which stem directly from Dassault Aviation's experience acquired with the Mirage 2000 and Rafale. It is equipped with an EASY digital flight deck and the totally unrivalled FalconEye combined vision system (CVS).

Exported to more than 90 countries, the Falcon aircraft are flexible and economic to fly. Their handling qualities, aerodynamics and versatility render them capable of fulfilling missions that go beyond civil aviation standards. They are designed by the design office that also develops the Rafale and nEUROn combat aircraft.

Over the last 50 years, Dassault Aviation has customized many Falcons for purposes such as medical evacuation, cargo transport, maritime surveillance, electronic warfare, etc. These multirole aircraft represent about 10% of the Falcon fleet in service across the world.

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Thales and Dassault Aviation Win Contract for France's New Strategic Airborne Intelligence Programme
(Source: Thales; issued Jan. 14, 2020)
On 30 December 2019, the French Armament General Directorate (DGA) awarded Thales and Dassault Aviation the contract to equip the French Army's future strategic intelligence aircraft with the CUGE universal electronic warfare capability. The contract covers the first two aircraft on the programme. CUGE will ultimately be deployed by three Falcon X aircraft, built by Dassault Aviation, to replace the two Transall C-160 Gabriel aircraft in service with the French Air Force from 2025.

With the ongoing development of digital technologies for the battlefield of the future, the armed forces are in the process of enhancing their intelligence capabilities. In the theatre of operations, they need to manage ever more complex tactical situations in real time, deploying surveillance systems that enable the intelligence services to make the best decisions in a timely fashion.

Thales, in partnership with Dassault Aviation, the DGA and the armed forces, has developed a new generation of signals intelligence (SIGINT) technologies under several advanced study programmes. Thales will produce all the sensors for the SIGINT payload and integrate the overall system on board Dassault Aviation's Falcon 8X aircraft.

These new technologies will enable the system to detect and analyse radar and radar signals simultaneously for the first time, in particular thanks to Thales's multi-polarisation antennas and the use of its artificial intelligence technologies to automate data processing.

The information collected by the systems will then be analysed by monitoring and intelligence specialists and fed into armed forces databases. The programme also includes a ground-based training platform. Through this new programme, the French armed forces will once again rely on Thales expertise to significantly enhance their SIGINT capabilities, and will gain a crucial advantage through a better understanding of the strategic environment.

"The ability to anticipate developments is key to national security, and reliable intelligence is therefore a critical requirement to understand the risks and inform operational decisions. Thales, in partnership with Dassault Aviation, is proud to support the French armed forces on this strategic programme, which will bring the country new intelligence capabilities by developing the successor to the Transall Gabriel as part of Europe's defences," said Nadim Traboulsi, ARCHANGE programme director for Thales.


[1] Avion de Renseignement à CHArge utile de Nouvelle Genération / Intelligence aircraft with new-generation payload

[2] Capacité universelle de guerre électronique / Universal electronic warfare capability.


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