France launches new airborne SIGINT platform program

French Defense Minister Florence Parly has launched on Wednesday the plan of a new strategic intelligence aircraft program titled "Universal electronic warfare capability" (CUGE).

France launches new airborne SIGINT platform program 001 A French Air ForceTransall C-160G Gabriel SIGINT aircraft
(Credit: French Air Force)

This new program will be equipped with a new sensor for French armies, allowing simultaneous interception of radio and radar emissions and this new sensor developed by the French group Thales will be integrated on a Falcon aircraft built by French aeronautical giant, Dassault Aviation, the French Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday in a press release.

Three strategic intelligence aircraft CUGE, instead of two originally planned, will replace from 2025 the two Transall C-160 Gabriel currently in service, and they will strengthen the capabilities of intelligence of electromagnetic origin and contribute to the particular effort on the function "knowledge and anticipation" of the French armies, the ministry said.

As a guarantee of France's decision-making autonomy and its superiority in operation, the reinforcement of intelligence capabilities is one of the priorities of the defense strategy defined by the President of the French Republic, the ministry added.