On October 29, 2020, the French Air Force announced the initial operational capability of the Talios laser designation pod on the Rafale F3-R aircraft.
Talios (TArgeting Long-range Identification Optronic System) is a multirole electro-optical pod manufactured by the French equipment manufacturer Thales. It is a new generation laser designation pod (PDL-NG) which is an evolution of the Damocles nacelle currently in service and used on foreign theaters of operation. Talios can detect and identify targets on the ground and deliver weapons with great precision.
This new pod will gradually equip all Rafale squadrons of the Air and Space Force and will be deployed in foreign theaters of operation. Talios is perfectly suited to the current foreign operations such as Op. Chammal in the Levant and Op. Barkhane in the Sahelo-Saharan strip. It is particularly suited to fire support (CAS: Close Air Support) or armed reconnaissance (SCAR: Strike Coordination And Reconnaissance) missions.
The Talios gimbal features much higher image quality from its new infrared (IR) and near IR sensors, allowing the aircraft to remain at a safe stand-off distance. The resolution and the additional tactical overlays allow a better interpretation of the image and facilitate the use (search, identification, pursuit and designation of targets) and the decision process.
Its main uses will be intelligence gathering, search, identification, monitoring and designation of targets on the ground for weapons carried by Rafale. To do this, it also benefits from the precision of its geolocation, a modern and enhanced human-system interface and an integrated Rover capability, allowing the exchange of images with troops on the ground. It also has integrated maintenance capabilities that will facilitate its support.
Together with the Damocles nacelle, Talios will form the backbone of the targeting pods used by the Air Force’s Mirage 2000 D and Rafale (Air and Marine) combat aircraft, and has significant potential for further development.