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Dassault aims Atlantic at European MPA tenders

DASSAULT AVIATION is to offer its Atlantic Third Generation (ATL3G) maritime-patrol aircraft (MPA) to the German, Italian and French navies. The three forces, which already operate earlier versions of the Atlantic, require a total of around 50 aircraft between 2005 and 2010.

The aircraft, offered as an alternative to the Lockheed Martin Orion 2000, incorporates many of the developments included in Dassault's now-abandoned bid for the UK Replacement Maritime Patrol Aircraft requirement.

The ATL3G is to be re-engined with Allison AE2100H turboprops driving Dowty six-bladed composite propellers, resulting in a near-10% increase in power, and up to a 15% reduction in fuel consumption, says Pierre Patry, export programme manager and head of the MPA department. Patry also reveals that the aircraft will include an all-new, two-crew, glass cockpit, using "civil, off-the-shelf avionics".

Italy has a requirement for around 16 aircraft to enter service between 2005 and 2009, while Germany needs 12 between 2007 and 2010. France will be offered the option of upgrading 22 Atlantique 2s to the ATL3G standard between 2005-2010. Patry says that development of the ATL3G would be funded by France, Germany and Italy, with "...the share to be decided according to the number of aircraft purchased".

Germany and Italy already have an agreement, known as the MPA 2000, to co-operate in the procurement of MPAs, and France is also understood to be keen to put its Atlantique 2 mid-life modernisation requirement under the same umbrella.

Dassault has signed an agreement with Daimler-Benz Aerospace (DASA), under which DASA will act as prime contractor for Germany's requirement, and the French company is in negotiation with Alenia of Italy on the same basis.

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