The French defense ministry announced today that it was launching an urgent operational requirement procedure to buy 10 more Damocles laser target tracking and designation pods critical to the ability to deliver surgical strikes with minimum collateral damage. The pods will be carried by the Mirage 2000D, the modernized Super Etendard and the Rafale and should be delivered by manufacturer Thales by 2011.
The Damocles pod uses infrared sensing and laser to designate ground targets both day and night for precision air strikes. The defense ministry says “it strongly augments the range and the quality of the image compared to the PDLCTS pod, which currently equips the Mirage 2000D.” In addition, it has a function enabling it to authenticate a target designated by special ground forces.
A year ago the French procurement agency DGA had ordered nine such pods from Thales, which will be delivered in 2010 and it already had 15 of them delivered between 2002 and 2003.
The Rafale carrying the Damocles pod. Photo credit: DGA