Originally called the ANG (Atlantic Nouvelle Génération), the Dassault Atlantique 2 was intended as a multi-national programme to replace the Atlantic (now called Atlantic 1) with its various users. France is currently the sole customer, though that country's requirement for 30 aircraft (originally 42) makes the project viable even if the rate of manufacture is too low for competitive costings. After very prolonged studies, the Atlantique 2 was designed as a 'minimum-change' aircraft, totally new in avionics, systems and equipment but with these packaged into an airframe differing only in ways to increase service life, reduce costs and minimise maintenance. Structural changes include detail redesign to give a 30,000-hour fatigue life, improved bonding and anti-corrosion protection, and better inter-panel sealing. An Astadyne gas-turbine auxiliary power unit is fitted, and production machines are fitted with Ratier-BAe propellers with larger composite blades.
The Atlantique 2's sensors include the Thomson-CSF Iguane frequency-agile radar with a new interrogator and decoder, an SAT/TRT Tango FLIR in a chin turret, over 100 sonobuoys in the rear fuselage, a new Crouzet MAD receiver in the tailboom, and the Thomson-CSF ARAR 13 ESM installation with frequency analysis at the top of the fin and D/F in the new wingtip nacelles. All processors, data buses and sensor links are of standard digital form, navaids include an inertial system and Navstar satellite receiver, and every part of the avionics and communications has been upgraded. This avionics fit represents a substantial improvement over the first-generation Atlantic 1, and is cost-effective due to the minimal airframe changes incurred. The main weapons bay, housed in the unpressurised lower fuselage, can accommodate all NATO standard bombs, depth charges, two ASMs, up to eight Mk 46 torpedoes or seven French Murène advanced torpedoes. A typical load consists of one AS37 Martel or one AM39 Exocet ASM and three torpedoes. Additional stores up to 3500 kg (7,716 lb) may be carried on four underwing pylons, including future ASMs, AAMs and equipment pods. The Atlantique has a rarely used secondary transport function, and could also be used in a limited overland electronic reconnaissance role.
The first Atlantique 2 flew in May 1981 and production deliveries began in 1989. Flottille 23F was the first unit to convert, the process being completed in 1991. Flottille 24F, also at Lann-Bihoué, took delivery of its Atlantique 2s in 1992. Flottilles 21F and 22F, based at Nîmes-Garons, began conversion in 1994.
Proposed variants of the Atlantique 2 included a Nimrod replacement for the RAF, with additional turbofans in pods under the wing and with either Allison T406s or General Electric T407s replacing the Tynes; an Atlantique 3 with further improvements; and the Europatrol, a derivative aimed at the replacement of NATO's P-3 Orions. A Tyne upgrade has also been proposed for the Atlantique.
The Atlantique 2 has an internal weapons bay for the carriage of various bombs, up to eight depth charges and torpedoes. The later can either be a maximum of eight Mk 46 or seven Murène weapons. The bay can also accommodate two anti-ship missiles, currently either AM39 Exocet or AS37 Martel. A typical load comprises one Exocet and three torpedoes. Additional missile armament can be carried on four underwing pylons, comprising ARMAT anti-radiation missiles or Magic 2 self-defence air-to-air missiles. Aft of the weapons bay is a sonobuoy launcher with over 100 buoys. Up to 160 smoke markers and flares are also carried, launched through the lower rear fuselage.
Nation of Orgin: France
Constructor: Dassault Aviation
Type: maritime recon
Wing span: 37.42 m (122 ft 9.25 in)
Wing area: 120.34 m2 (1,295.37 sq ft)
Length 31.62 m (103 ft 9 in)
Height 10.89 m (35 ft 8.75 in)
Max t-o weight: 46200 kg (101,852 lb)
Powerplant: two Rolls-Royce Tyne RTy.20 Mk 21 each rated at 6,100 ehp (4549 ekW)
Max speed: 648 km/h (349 kt; 402 mph), never exceed M0.73
Max cruising speed: 555 km/h (300 kt; 345 mph)
Patrol speed: 315 km/h (170 kt; 196 mph)
Range 9075 km (4,897 nm; 5,639 miles)
Endurance 18 hours
Max rate of climb: 884 m (2,900 ft) per minute
Ceiling 9145 m (30,000 ft)
Armament: 3500 kg (7,716 lb) external, 2500 kg (5,511 lb) internal; torpedoes depth charges, bombs, ASM AM39 Exorcet, ASM AS37 Martel