Nope, no need for an MPA, honest

Ah, a French airframe with Rolls Royce engines - MD would approve.

It is currently one of the most expensive French aircraft to fly, something like 23,000 Euros per flying hour...and its maintenance is going to be a nightmare when the Transall will be retired as they share the same engines....luckily for the ATL2, the Transall have been pushed back to 2025 now so no immediate emergency !
 
I suspect that the Aeronavale may be a future customer for the P-8.

Regards,
MM
 
I suspect that the Aeronavale may be a future customer for the P-8.

Regards,
MM

The need will be there at some point but I would be extremely surprised if France goes for a US option when several EU options are on the market....unless it's a batch job with several other EU nations and the costs are much lower. It has been seen before....
 
The need will be there at some point but I would be extremely surprised if France goes for a US option when several EU options are on the market....unless it's a batch job with several other EU nations and the costs are much lower. It has been seen before....
Capability trumps nationality fantassin, even for France in this particular field.
 
Oh well, what can we say but bugger!
I suspect no one will do a quick 'told you so'.

http://aviationweek.com/defense/canadians-french-us-hunt-submarine-scotland

Of course you are assuming that if MR4 hadn't been cancelled it would be flying now- Im not convinced.

Besides I don't think anybody claimed we don't need an MPA, its just saner heads prevailed (at long last) and decided that Nimrod was
A) A long way and a lot of money from working and B) A very small Orphan fleet that would be very expensive to upgrade.

However it does beg the questions

1) MR2 was withdrawn before MR4** was ready (by labour) officially this was as a result of the airworthiness issues
Was it withdrawn because it really had to be or was it a bit of a knee jerk reaction ?.

2) Had MR2 still been in service would it have been retired and the MPA capability gapped, or would it have been expected to soldier*** on until a suitable replacement was found.

** SDSR didn't gap MPA capability it extended the existing capability -

*** Do crab air soldier on ?
 
Capability trumps nationality fantassin, even for France in this particular field.

It has happened in the past for niche equipment such as 3 Marine Nationale E-2s and 4 Armée de l'Air E-3s or as stop-gap (C-130s); the fleet of 15 modernised ATL 2 being now prolonged to beyond 2030, it would be very surprising to see France buying a US plateform while it now has over 15 years to develop its own, based either on A319/320 (won't happen, too expensive), Dassault Falcon (the Marine Nationale already operates 4 Falcon 50s) or Airbus Military C-295.
 
Fantassin,

Your nation has similar maritime requirements to the UK, notably the requirement to conduct blue water ASW in support of your national deterrent. A modified business jet is not suited to the task and - even allowing for 15 years of technology advancement - the laws of physics mean that a CN-295 class asset probably won't be either.

You may miss the European boat on P-8 as realistically only ourselves and Norway are likely to procure the type. So I wouldn't discount the requirement to develop an A321 MPA just yet.

Regards,
MM
 
I am not saying the requirement is not there - just that in France it is not as urgent as in other EU countries.

At the moment, the Falcon are not used nor equipped as MPAs in the Marine Nationale; they do mostly surveillance and if needed SAR. They were procured so as to free the ATL2 from those tasks.

Maybe an A321 MPA will come but I really don't see where the money will come from to buy it....at least in France, especially now that the ATL2 is being given another 15-20 years of op life.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
So you need to start thinking about it, what, five-10 years from now? Less? It'll be interesting to see the technology mixes decided upon. Five years and I can see it being broadly familiar. 10 years will be different, though, I should imagine.
 
As long as the MPAs are seen as a crucial component of the protection element of the Navy's contribution to nuclear deterrence, they should be OK.

Considering FRA MPAs have had for over 40 years a "secondary" (and in numbers of flying hours, sometimes a primary) role as ISR platforms in Africa (and now also in Iraq), it would be surprising to see the Marine Nationale go for a huge (in French terms) plane like an Airbus which needs a level of maintenance and protection many austere airfields cannot provide.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Yes, but if I read you right that falls into a common mis-comprehension - the difference between an MPA and a sub-hunter such as the Atlantique. The latter needs size and payload, as well as a rather more comprehensive sensor suite. Lose that and you're in - no pun intended - the same boat as us.

P-8 is A320-class for that very reason - hell, I don't think anyone would argue that the Americans aren't as good as anyone when it comes to miniaturising systems. They went with the B737 for a reason.
 
You are right but unfortunately, if the recent past is any indication, I think the FRA Navy won't be given the luxury of choice and will have to go for a smaller platform. The operating costs of the ATL2 keep on being mentioned for a reason and I would be very very surprised if it was to be replaced by a system with even higher costs.
 
The challenge that nations such as France, NZ and Canada face when deciding to upgrade legacy types is that they become increasingly expensive to operate. This is particularly so as the upgrades turn each type into a tiny, unique fleet each requiring bespoke logistics support. Inevitably, further upgrades will be required as systems simply become unavailable, or for the aircraft to remain legally able to fly iaw Global Air Traffic Management requirements. In contrast, modern types often enjoy access to commercial, globally available spares networks. This is a major benefit of the RAF Sentinel fleet operating in the Middle East and Africa which has exploited Bombardier's business jet logistics support for routine airframe and flight avionics.

In short, a more complex, modern type may not necessarily be more expensive to operate, particularly in the long run. Nor are they necessarily more difficult to operate from austere locations although I accept that weight and runway requirements are a factor. That's where cheap and cheerful types such as King Air 350 and PC-12 variants (or RPAS) can come into play. Granted that the CN-295/ATR-72 MPA also enjoys similar benefits. However, such types are enormously compromised in terms of 'blue water' capability. And with modern ASW, any compromise - whatsoever - effectively means no capability.

Sadly, there are no shortcuts to staying in the ASW game.

Regards,
MM
 

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