Thanks to the sale of 12 Rafale aircraft to Croatia, the French Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) has ordered 21 TALIOS optronic pods from Thales for €100 million, with the aim of then having 67 copies for the needs of the Air Force & Space (AFS) as well as those of Naval Aeronautics.
The TALIOS (Targeting Long-range Identification Optronic System) pod, marks a leap in capabilities thanks to its high-performance, high-resolution electro-optical and infrared sensors. It thus makes it possible to carry out long-range strikes and simultaneously perform reconnaissance missions, with the information it collects being transmitted in real time. Finally, the SmartFleet maintenance prediction system increases its availability rate.
However, the Rafale also uses the next-generation RECO NG strategic airborne reconnaissance pod. This allows to take photos at high and very low altitude, day and night. And it can target one objective - or even several - from different angles thanks to its optical sensors that can rotate 180°.
But in the future, the TALIOS and RECO NG platforms will become one.
Indeed, according to a report just published by the Defense Innovation Agency (AID), studies have been awarded to Thales LAS as part of the "Pod TR" project, which aims to develop a new submodel and reconnaissance for the Rafale F5.
AID explains that, this TR Pod will provide "real-time detection, reconnaissance and target tracking missions" and that, as such, it will merge the capabilities of the TALIOS and RECO -NG pods.
Greece would like to enhance the capability of the Rafale fleet. Along this line, the country would like to acquire the Talios (Targeting Long-range Identification Optronic System) pod.
Recall that, the Ministry of National Defense published a few months ago, an official statement . According to it, Greek representatives met with the managers of the company Thales. The purpose of the negotiations was about the IRST system and the Talios pod for the Rafale fleet of the Greek Air Force.
In fact, this meeting and the intention to purchase the TALIOS nacelle, raised alarm in Turkey with the Turkish media reporting extensively on the dominance of the Greek Air Force over its Turkish counterpart.
"It is well known that Rafale aircraft can use many weapons in the Greek inventory. Athens has long been making large investments in military systems. One of the most important procurements is the Rafale aircraft. The Greek Air Force wants to strengthen its air power and consolidate its supremacy in the Aegean Region against Turkey," they said.
The Talios can be used for targeting and reconnaissance surveillance. The system can detect and provide engagement capability for both airborne and surface targets. The system's autonomous targeting capability offers animation and can guide smart weapons. Talios offers different scanning modes for reassessment tasks.
The high-resolution sensor system, is able to scan a wide area to search for targets in reconnaissance mode and then switch to target acquisition and tracking modes. It is able to generate a three-dimensional mapping.
The system is equipped with built-in artificial intelligence (AI) to enable automatic target recognition and acquisition. In addition, the pod supports deep attack with long-range bombs and missiles, air-to-air target reconnaissance, Closed Air Support (CAS) and Non-Traditional Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (NTISR).
The Rafale's big trump card, apart from its electronics, is the number of weapons it can launch, the first of course being the Meteor air-to-air missile. It is state-of-the-art, and even the French Air Force has taken delivery of it in the last year and a half. It goes very far, at high speed and engages targets at multiple distances than ordinary missiles.
The combination of upgrading the existing Greek F-16 fleet (according to Lockheed Martin, Greece will then have the most advanced F-16s in Europe) combined with the acquisition of French Rafale aircraft will give Greece a remarkable qualitative advantage and ensure the dominance of the Air Force in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean.
With the completion of the F-16 upgrade program to VIPER level and the reinforced 332 Falcon Squadron with 24 Rafale F3Rs, the total number of fighters exchanging network-centric data via Link 16 and AESA radar will be 108. A significant force with many additional assets offered by the multitude of sensors they carry.