June 14, 2011 By VMSB DEFESA Global
French Air Force owned Service Industriel de l’Aéronautique (SIAé) aeronautics industrial workshop is upgrading undisclosed quantities of Aérospatiale (now EADS Eurocopter) Gazelle light support helicopters in service with the French Army (Armée de Terre) ALAT (Aviation Légère de l’Armée de Terre) light aviation unit.
The modernization comprises the integration of IFF transponder (Identification Friend or Foe), SIT-ALAT terminal information system, armoured seats from AgustaWestland, NVG (Night Vision Goggles) compatible avionics lightings and a VHF (Very High Frequency) communications system.
The integration of SIT-ALAT system is already completed said a source to Defesa Global.
SIT-ALAT developed by Euroavionics Navigationssysteme GmbH & Co. KG integrates navigation, communication, and tactical information on one high-brightness display to improve tactical and situational awareness, and enhance flight safety.
ALAT operates several variants of the Gazelle helicopter including the SA 342 L1 AATCP (with MISTRAL fire and forget anti-tank missiles), SA 342 HOT (with HOT air to air missiles), SA 341 CANON (with a 20mm gun pod) and the SA 342 L1 with VIVIANE thermal camera.
France uses few SA 342 L1 Gazelle Viviane helicopters in Afghanistan.