With the planned retirement of the French Mirage F1CR, the French Air Force is planning to shift part of its missions to the Mirage 200D fleet. As part of this program, the French defence procurement agency (DGA) has awarded Thales a contract to adapt ASTAC tactical electronic reconnaissance pods for the Mirage 2000D. The process is due to complete by 2014, when the Mirage F1CR is expected to phase out of active service.The ASTAC (Analyseur de Signaux TACTiques) pod was designed to be carried under the fuselage of F4 Phantom, Mirage F1 and Mirage 2000 combat aircraft to provide an electronic intelligence (ELINT) and tactical reconnaissance capability, including updating the overall situation and generating the electronic order of battle.
The contract includes all the modifications required to interface the ASTAC pods with the Mirage 2000D, including adaptation to the platform and adjustments to the countermeasures systems housed inside the pod.
ASTAC is designed to operate in dense electromagnetic environments, offering high-precision direction of arrival estimation and uses sophisticated algorithms to determine the location of the signals intercepted. Key parameters of signal sources are measured with high precision in any electromagnetic environment, irrespective of the transmission techniques employed.
In recent years the French Air Force deployed ASTAC in different theatres of operations. Most recently, in Libya, French Air Force Mirage F1CRs carried it in support of during Operation Harmattan