The French Navy has taken delivery of the last of its second batch of four Falcon 50M maritime surveillance aircraft. The event was marked by a military ceremony on 20th May on the Lann-Bihoué military base in the presence of French defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier.
The second batch of aircraft, which were previously used for government transportation missions, have been refitted at Dassault Aviation’s Mérignac site. New equipment includes an Ocean Master 100 radar, retractable infrared optronic pod and operator console. The aircraft were also fitted with observation windows and an Inmarsat C satellite communication sytem installed by Sabena Technics.
Including the first four aircraft delivered early in the 2000s, the French Navy's 24F squadron now operates a fleet of eight Falcon 50Ms. The second batch of aircraft do not yet have the SAR and survival gear airdrop capability built into the earlier batch. They are scheduled to receive a limited airdrop capability by 2018.