Thales’ Rafale-Bound Optronic Pod Qualified by French Military

By Nick Zazulia | November 20, 2018
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Thales Talios

The Talios on a Rafale C101 for testing. (Thales)

Thales' new Talios optronic pod, destined for the Dassault Rafale, has completed qualification testing by the French defense procurement agency (DGA).

The Talios features high-resolution electro-optical and infrared sensors as well as line-of-sight stabilization to allow for the identification of fixed and moving targets at long ranges via the system's image processing capabilities.

Additional on going system developments include the incorporation of new reconnaissance modes and automatic target detection and recognition algorithms, according to Thales. As part of the company's efforts to use artificial intelligence (AI) to support human efforts, Thales said it also plans to implement its Permanent Vision technology, which superimposes high-definition imagery gathered from the Talios in real time onto a three-dimensional map to aid situational awareness for pilots.

In addition to the Talios itself, the pod's through-life support system has also been qualified, Thales said, including the SmartFleet fleet management and predictive maintenance solution. Thales is also providing a means of attaching the pod to an aircraft pylon without requiring additional tooling to cut down on installation work.

The Talios is a major component of the new F3R standard for the Rafale, which received approval late last month. Thales said Talios pod deliveries will begin before the end of the year and continue until 2022. The French military has said that new Rafales will all be released at the F3R standard and older ones will be upgraded to reach it. The French military plans to keep the Rafale in service until the 2040s.

While Rafale is the most notable planned use for the Talios, it is also compatible with combat aircraft, Thales said. No specific examples of other planned platforms have been named.

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