The TALIOS optronic pod has been qualified by the French defence procurement agency, the Direction générale de l’armement (DGA). The initial operational capability (IOC) version of the new pod has now successfully completed qualification testing by the agency.
The Thales-developed pod combines reconnaissance and targeting capabilities with what the manufacturer describes as “visibility of the entire critical decision chain, from gathering intelligence to neutralising threats.”
TALIOS (Targeting Long-range Identification Optronic System) combines high-resolution electro-optical and infrared sensors with line-of-sight stabilisation and image processing capabilities. Thales says the pod has “unprecedented target identification performance” as well as providing “a long-range threat engagement capability to counter fixed and moving targets”.
The pod’s through-life support system has also been qualified. This includes the SmartFleet fleet management and predictive maintenance solution, which prevents equipment failures that could disrupt an operational mission and increases overall fleet availability. The logistic support system also includes an innovative transport solution used to attach the pod to the aircraft pylon without requiring any other tooling.
The TALIOS optronic targeting pod is one of the major components of the new Rafale F3R standard for the French Air Force and French Navy. Deliveries of the first series-produced TALIOS systems to the French forces will begin before end of this year and continue until 2022.
TALIOS – a new targeting pod
The operational limitations of the Damocles targeting pod currently in service on Rafale and Mirage 2000D strike fighters have long been identified. This is the reason why, in 2012, the DGA and Thales signed a contract for the development of the TALIOS new-generation targeting pod.
Compared withthe current Damocles, the TALIOS is fitted with a TV channel and with a new infrared sensor, addressing a number of shortfalls highlighted during combat operations in Afghanistan, Mali and the Middle East. Initial development trials were conducted using a DGA Essais en Vol (DGA EV, Flight Test Centre) Mirage 2000D at Cazaux.
According to the programme director told AFM: “Flight testing of the TALIOS has so far proven highly successful. Development of the TALIOS and of its subsystems by the industry ran on time, strictly adhering to the terms of the contract, and initial testing carried out by the DGA proved entirely satisfactory. The TV and IR sensors both work superbly well, offering unmatched image quality. I believe that we have exceeded the performance of foreign pods in terms of resolution and image sharpness. We have also demonstrated that extraction of co-ordinates was particularly accurate. Since early 2017, flight-testing has begun on the Rafale and development is expected to be completed in mid-2017.
“In all, 20 TALIOS pods have been ordered, and approval for an additional batch of 25 has been granted, including a number for the French Navy to replace Atlis pods that were withdrawn from use in July 2016 when the last Super Étendard Modernisé was sent to the boneyard. Upgrades to the image processing unit have been implemented to increase the range and the resolution of the older Damocles, but I have to admit that the introduction of the TALIOS comes at a very relevant time.”
Like the Damocles, the TALIOS will be mounted under the Rafale’s right forward-fuselage hardpoint, offering an excellent field of regard, even when weapons and external fuel tanks are carried beneath the wing pylons.