French Air and Space Force CN-235 Fleet to Receive New Avionics Upgrades

The CN-235. (Image: Morgane VALLE / Armée de l’air & de l'Espace / Défense)

A consortium formed by Sabena Technics and Thales has been awarded a contract for the upgrade of the French Air and Space Force’s fleet of CN-235 twin-turboprop tactical transport and logistics aircraft. The fleet includes 27 total CN-235s that will be upgraded with "state-of-the-art" avionics to allow integration into general air traffic, significantly enhance capabilities for tactical and public service operations, increase fleet availability and extend service life to 2040 and beyond, according to Thales.

The CN-235 is used for tactical missions to drop paratroopers or equipment and for public service operations such as medical evacuation and can be deployed rapidly into theatre. The CN-235’s new state-of-the-art and intuitive avionics will meet the standards of the Single European Sky and enable French forces to integrate into non-segregated airspace with no restrictions.

As consortium leader, Sabena Technics will perform the mechanical and electrical modifications and integrate the avionics equipment. In addition to supplying the TopStarC GPS receiver and inertial navigation system, Thales will also provide latest-generation avionics derived from its TopDeck suite used on the ATR 72-600 commercial passenger aircraft.

TopDeck is certified and flight-proven on nearly 800 civil and military platforms. The upgraded CN-235s will also feature the latest-generation Thales radio altimeter, which is immune to 5G interference, to ensure safe, high-performance navigation.