Daher-Socata has handed over the first of 27 TBM 700 single-engined turboprops to have been modernised for the French armed forces.
Main elements of the project include the installation of Garmin G1000 avionics suites with digital autopilots, plus new weather radars, emergency locator transmitters and flight data recorder systems.
Being conducted under a contract with France's DGA procurement agency, the work also incorporates "civilian certification and related enhancements for a better integration of the aircraft within the international air traffic system", Daher-Socata said.
Daher-Socata has outlined its deal as covering the modernisation of 15 TBM 700s for the French air force, eight for the French army and four to be operated by the nation's CEV flight test centre. The work will conclude in late 2014.
"Our teams are implementing a phased modernisation of the French armed forces' TBM 700 fleet without restricting the operational activity of the units that fly them," said senior vice-president Nicolas Chabbert. Familiarisation training will also be provided for pilots and maintainers as part of the contract.