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Adapted Falcons to meet French air force EW need

Dassault will adapt a trio of Falcon business jets with Thales mission equipment for operations with the French air force, after Paris selected the combination for its "Epicure" airborne electronic warfare (EW) requirement.

Announcing the decision by the French defence ministry on 1 March, the airframer did not disclose which model from its current range would be adapted for the EW role. However, it confirms: "The required level of performance of the Epicure Falcons necessitates highly complex integration work."

"This new programme will strengthen electronic intelligence capabilities and help the French armed forces to perform their strategic information-gathering functions," says Thales. The company adds that its universal electronic warfare capability equipment will "intercept radio and radar signals simultaneously".

Welcoming the selection decision, Dassault chief executive Éric Trappier notes: "The Falcon Epicure will serve the French forces in the same way as the Falcon 10, 200, 50, 2000, 900 and 7X are already doing."

Flight Fleets Analyzer records the French air force as currently operating six Falcons across the 7X, 900 and 2000 models. The nation's navy, meanwhile, employs 13 Falcon 20/200s and 50s adapted for maritime patrol applications, plus six 10/100-model examples employed in a transport configuration.