On 20 December 2022, the French Defence Procurement Agency notified the cocontractors Sabena Technics Bod and Thales Avs France SAS of a framework agreement for the renovation of the cockpit of the CN235-200 and CN235-300 of the French Air Force and Space, the oldest in service since 1992; the firm part of the contract amounts to 107 million euros including VAT. 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 aircraft into compliance with the new international air navigation standards to enable them to continue to fit into civil air traffic by increasing navigation accuracy and replacing obsolete equipment. The renovation will also improve navigation performance for tactical missions.
The framework agreement includes 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 CN235-200 version 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 5-ton class mid-size tactical aircraft carrying cargo or 40 passengers. The fleet divided into 19 CN235-200 and 8 CN235-300 is operated in mainland France, overseas and as part of external operations for various missions:
support to the population, search and rescue, medical and medical evacuations,
logistics transport with landing capacity on rough runways,
missions of dropping troops and charges.