Thales Optronique (Hall 4 Innovation Zone A1) unveiled its successor to the Damoclès targeting pod on the eve of the Farnborough show. The new sensor system, called “Talios,” should be ready in time for deployment on a major new operational standard of the Dassault Rafale multi-role fighter that is due to enter service in 2018. A new-generation targeting pod, known as PDL-NG, has been one of the key elements associated with the Rafale’s F3R upgrade standard. Development of PDL-NG started in 2009, with approval to proceed affirmed in January 2013.
For the Dassault Rafale combat jet, the French intervention in Mali provided another chance to demonstrate its multirole capability. Starting with a 3,400-mile interdiction mission (AI) launched from France on the night of January 13, up to six aircraft subsequently flew daily from their deployed base at N’Djamena, Chad, also performing reconnaissance and close-air-support (CAS) missions. Six of them are still there.
The laser-guided version of the Sagem AASM (armament air-sol modulaire) air-launched “smart” weapon was qualified last month by the French air armaments agency (DGA) at the Cazaux flight-test center, and will soon enter service in France with operational squadrons of Rafale combat aircraft. It is intended primarily for use against mobile targets. Meanwhile, the French air force has revealed details of recent attack missions over Mali when up to 12 INS/GPS-guided versions of the AASM were salvo-fired within one minute against preplanned targets, to achieve maximum surprise.