The Atlantic, or Atlantique in French, is a patrol aircraft designed for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) similar to the American P-3 Orion and the British Nimrod. The aircraft is also suitable to a number of other missions, including anti-ship, reconnaissance, air-sea rescue, fleet escort, transport, and mine warfare.
Powered by two Rolls-Royce turbo-prop engines, the aircraft has a maximum flight time of 18 hours, usually spending 8 hours on station with standard armament. The aircraft has been in service since with the air and naval forces of France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy as well as Pakistan.
The latest version, the ATL3, incorporates a radically enhanced weapon system, new technology engines, a state-of-the-art glass cockpit and sophisticated avionics and sensors. The plane is built by a European collaboration, under the supervision of Dassault Aviation, made up of Daimler-Chrysler Aerospace for Germany, Dassault Aviation and Aerospatiale for France, Alenia for Italy and SABCA-SONACA for Belgium.
The flight deck is equipped for two pilots, with a tactical crew of eight. The aircraft is equipped with sophisticated radar system, electronic counter measures and acoustic sensors to track submarines.
The Atlantique can carry a wide array of weapons, from missiles such as Harpoon, Maverick and Sidewinder.
It also has a large weapon bay which can carry a maximum payload of 5,500kg. Weapons include Exocet air-to-surface missiles, mines and anti-submarine depth charges.
Max Level Speed at altitude: 410 mph (660 km/h) at 20,000 ft (6,095 m).
Max Level Speed at sea level: 370 mph (590 km/h).
Initial Climb Rate: 2,900 ft (884 m) / min.
Service Ceiling: 30,000 ft (9,145 m).
Range typical: unknown.
Range ferry: 4,865 nm (9,000 km).
Stations: 1 internal weapons bay, 4 external hardpoints, and 2 wingtip rails.
Air-to-Air Missile: up to four Matra Magic.
Air-to-Surface Missile: up to two AM39 Exocet or AS37 Martel, up to four Armat ARM.
Bomb: up to six conventional bombs.
Other: up to eight depth charges, up to eight torpedoes, various equipment pods, sonobouys, rocket pods.