On December 20, 2022, the General Directorate of Armaments notified the joint contractors Sabena Technics Bod and Thales Avs France SAS of a framework agreement relating to the renovation of the cockpit of the Air Force CN235-200 and CN235-300 and Space, the oldest in service since 1992; the firm part of the contract amounts to 107 million euros including tax. The objective is to replace the current avionics of aircraft with modern avionics allowing their operation until 2040.
The objective of this renovation is to bring the aircraft into compliance with the new international air navigation standards to enable them to continue to integrate into civil air traffic by increasing navigation precision and replacing obsolete equipment. The renovation will also improve navigation performance for tactical missions.
The framework agreement includes the firm part of the development, qualification and certification of the avionics modification of the CN235 and the delivery at the end of 2026 of a prototype for each of the 2 versions of the aircraft, one corresponding to the CN235 version -200 and the other to the CN235-300 version. The modernization of all 27 aircraft in the fleet will take place between 2026 and 2031.
The CN235 are medium-class tactical aircraft with 5 tons of cargo or 40 passengers. The fleet, divided into 19 CN235-200 and 8 CN235-300, is operated in mainland France, overseas and in the context of external operations for a variety of missions:
- support to the population, search and rescue, medical and sanitary evacuations,
- logistics transport with the ability to land on rough runways,
- troop and load drop missions.