FRENCH ARMED Forces Minister, Florence Parly, has confirmed that three modified Dassault Falcon Epicure business jets will replace the Armée de l’Air’s (French Air Force’s) two ageing Transall C160G Gabriele electronic warfare aircraft. She announced the decision to award Dassault the contract for the Charge Universelle de Guerre Électronique (CUGE – Universal Electronic Warfare Capability) programme on February 28.
The CUGE contract awarded to Dassault will involve the complex integration of a Thales Epicure EW suite, developed by the company over the last ten years, in each of the three Falcons. The precise Falcon variant to be used as a platform for the Epicure system has not yet been announced, although the impression released by Dassault shows a three-engine design, suggesting the Falcon 7X or 8X as a likely basis for the EW version. From 2025, these will replace the two Gabriels, which have been operated by Escadron Eléctronique 00.054 ‘Dunkerque’ at Base Aérienne 105 Evreux-Fauville since January 1989.