Thales Optronique (Hall 4 Innovation Zone A1) unveiled its successor to the Damoclès targeting pod on the eve of the Farnborough show. The new sensor system, called “Talios,” should be ready in time for deployment on a major new operational standard of the Dassault Rafale multi-role fighter that is due to enter service in 2018. A new-generation targeting pod, known as PDL-NG, has been one of the key elements associated with the Rafale’s F3R upgrade standard. Development of PDL-NG started in 2009, with approval to proceed affirmed in January 2013. Funding has been approved for at least 19 pods for the French air force and navy.
The Rafale currently uses the Damoclès targeting pod, the performance specifications of which have fallen behind those of competing systems; it also lacks a daytime function. Talios addresses these deficiencies by introducing a higher resolution sensor for greater targeting accuracy, as well as a number of other features that allow it to be used for non-traditional ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) tasks.
Drawing heavily on operational feedback, Talios has been developed to cover what Thales calls “the entire critical decision chain from intelligence-gathering to weapon delivery.” Various air-to-ground functionalities allow it to conduct attacks in co-operative and autonomous modes, as well as to provide real-time reconnaissance capability through a data link. It can operate by day and night, and also provide air-to-air target identification and forward-looking navigation imagery.
Thales has created a user-friendly interface for the Talios, including picture-in-picture capability and intuitive symbology. It also has an advanced 3D geo-location and tracking capability. Talios is an open-architecture system that allows new features to be implemented, and is a “plug-and-play” system that can be easily integrated with a wide range of modern aircraft.