French Air and Space Force (Armée de l’Air et de l’Espace) received its second ALSR “Vador” (Vader) light surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft on Dec. 2.
Two ALSR (Avions légers de surveillance et de reconnaissance, “light surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft”) aircraft were ordered by France in June 2016 from Sabena Technics and Thales. The first aircraft was delivered earlier this year and it arrived at the Évreux-Fauville Air Base in August.
The ALSR Vador (Vecteur aéroporté de désignation, d’observation et de reconnaissance, “Airborne vector for designation, observation and reconnaissance”) system is composed of a Beechcraft King Air 350 aircraft and various equipment for carrying out intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance (ISR) missions.
The aircraft is capable of performing intelligence missions with a small logistical footprint and great ease of deployment. The ALSR will be implemented by the Air Force for the benefit of French military intelligence. They will be complementary to other means of information gathering (such as drones, Rafale fighter aircraft, Atlantique 2 maritime patrol aircraft, etc.).
The two aircraft will be operated by the service’s Airborne Electronic Warfare Squadron 1/54 “Dunkirk” (Escadron électronique aéroporté 1/54 Dunkerque, EEA 00.054 Dunkerque) based at Évreux-Fauville Air Base (Base aérienne 105 Évreux or BA 105).
The 2019-2025 Military Programming Law (LPM) provides for a fleet of eight ALSRs by 2030. As part of the defense component of the aeronautical support plan, the order for the third ALSR will be anticipated with a view to delivery advanced to 2023 instead of 2027 as initially planned.
Main features of the ALSR system:
- Wing span: 17 m
- Length: 14 m
- Height: 4.3 m
- Engine: 2 x Pratt & Whitney PT6A-60A turboprop