France Launches ‘ARCHANGE’ SIGINT Aircraft Program

The French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, announced the launch of the new ‘ARCHANGE’ Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) aircraft program.

The ARCHANGE (Avions de Renseignement à CHArge utile de Nouvelle GEnération) program is being launched under the French CUGE (Capacité Universelle de Guerre Electronique, universal electronic warfare capability) requirement to strengthen the French Armed Forces’ electronic intelligence capabilities. The program will be led by French defense procurement and technology agency, DGA (Direction générale de l’armement, Directorate General of Armaments).

The new-generation ARCHANGE intelligence aircraft will be based on the Dassault Aviation Falcon 8X business jet. Three of these aircraft will replace the two Transall C-160G “Gabriel” SIGINT electronic surveillance aircraft operate by the French Air Force’s Airborne Electronic Warfare Squadron (Escadron électronique aéroporté 1/54 Dunkerque).

All the sensors constituting the payload onboard the aircraft will be developed by Thales. This payload will feature innovative technologies such as multi-polarization antennas and artificial intelligence to improve automatic processing, and will detect and analyze enemy radar and communication signals.

The first system is scheduled to be delivered to the Air Force in 2025. The new aircraft will be based at Évreux-Fauville Air Base.

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