Will visual observation capabilities really be at the heart of the future maritime patrol aircraft?

In 2018, France and Germany signed a letter of intent to cooperate on the development of a new maritime patrol aircraft (PATMAR) to replace the current aircraft by 2035, MAWS (Maritime Airborne Warfare System). Meanwhile, France will be able to count on 18 venerable ATL2, or Altantique 2, currently under renovation and always ready to ensure the security of French naval and land operations, all over the world.

Last November, an article by Commander Molina published in the National Defense Review painted a robot portrait of what this future PATMAR aircraft could be. The model that emerges from the article is quite logical at first, but nevertheless presents certain contradictions between operational needs and available industrial solutions. What to question the merits of a certain conservatism of the armed forces which can lead to technological dead ends with which the operators will have to deal with for several decades, given the current duration of military programs.

Designed specifically for the maritime patrol mission, the ATL2 is also regularly illustrated in Africa and the Middle East. Even more than for submarine detection, its glass nose is also used for visual monitoring of land targets.

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