Thales TALIOS : Next Generation Targeting Pod For Rafale

New generation targeting and reconnaissance pod, delivering unmatched imagery quality combined with disruptive capabilities such as Permanent VisionTM and Automatic Target Detection and Recognition, bringing unique Situational Awareness to front line pilots and ground forces.

In November 2018, a new TALIOS targeting pod manufactured by the Thales Group was adopted into service by the French Air and Space Forces. Currently, the supply of serial products is underway, and the military units are mastering them. At the end of October, the VKS reported new successes in this direction. The first targeting pod have been brought to the stage of initial operational readiness and are now fully operational.

Thales TALIOS targeting pod
Thales TALIOS targeting pod

The French defence ministry has revealed that an Indian Air Force pilot was given a demonstration of a new target acquisition system meant for the Rafale fighter.

The French defence ministry informed on its website earlier this week that an Indian Air Force pilot flew on a Rafale F3R fighter on September 22 that was equipped with the TALIOS target acquisition pod.


Development of the future TALIOS (Targeting Long-range Identification Optronic System) began in late 2013 on the order of vks France. Originally, the project was called PDL-NG (Pod de D’ignation Laser de Nouvelle G’n’ration – “Next Generation Laser Targeting Container”).

PDL-NG was seen as a more advanced and modern replacement for the existing Damocles container, compatible with multi-type fighter
jets. The French VKS had to use such containers on Rafale fighter jets, and compatibility with Mirage 2000 aircraft should have been envisaged to enhance export capabilities.

Dassault Rafale with Thales TALIOS targeting pod
Dassault Rafale with Thales TALIOS targeting pod

In 2016-18, Thales and VKS conducted all the necessary tests of the new container, which resulted in its adoption. In November 2018, the order appeared, and soon the first serial products were delivered to the troops. The containers are still being delivered and will continue in the coming years.

On 29 October, the French Ministry of Defence announced new successes.

In an unnamed squadron manned by the Rafals, TALIOS containers reached the stage of initial operational readiness. This allows the use of such equipment in full-fledged combat operations. In the foreseeable future, new types of containers will be operated in alongside Damocles products but will be replaced in the future. Current plans provide for the gradual retooling of all fighter-bombing units with new containers.

Technical features

The Thales TALIOS sighting container was designed with the experience of the previous Damocles product. The latter was criticized for the lack of a “day” optical channel and other shortcomings. In the new project, all these wishes are taken into account, so talIOS is more powerful and has increased tactical and technical characteristics.

Thales TALIOS targeting pod
Target Visuals from Thales TALIOS

The TALIOS container is made in a cylindrical case about 1.8 m long, the head part of which is given under the movable casing of the optical-electronic unit. The container is hung on the regular pylon of the carrier aircraft and connected to it by a standard bus. The open architecture of the devices is announced, designed to facilitate further modernization. The product is fully integrated into the target-navigation complex of the aircraft and expands its capabilities. The main innovation of the TALIOS project is a daytime video camera with electronic image augmentation.

The field of view gradually varies from 7 x 5.5 degrees to 0.77 x.58 degrees. At the same time, the range of surveillance of the day camera is higher than that of the thermal imaging channel. This is why the main advantages of the TALIOS container are due to the previous Damocles.
Also used is an infrared camera of the middle range (3-5 microns) with electronic zoom, changing the field of view from 4.8 x3.6 degrees to 1 x 1 x 0.75 degrees. TALIOS is equipped with a multifunctional laser system. It is used as a rangefinder and a target for weapons. In addition, the optics of the container can fix someone else’s illumination for third-party targeting.

The container in real time gives the image as HD and digital information from all devices sighting the aircraft’s navigation complex. In addition, all of this data is stored by its own multi-channel recording devices with the ability to play or transmit.

Thales TALIOS targeting pod

The TALIOS sighting container is designed to complement the aircraft’s own carrier capabilities and allows it to search for ground/surface and air targets in optical and infrared ranges at any time of the day and in all conditions.

Artificial intelligence elements are used to analyze incoming data and independently identify targets, which reduces the burden on the pilot. Automation also calculates the coordinates of the detected target and produces data for the use of weapons, as well as transmits them to the electronics of the munition.

Using regular communications and control, the container can provide targeting to other aircraft or firepower.

Key Features & Benefits

• 2-in-1 solution providing both targeting and recce capabilities into one pod
• HD B&W, Color, and InfraRed sensors
• Pilot-centric approach providing continuous Situational Awareness through Permanent VisionTM
• Outstanding laser designation and imagery: from stand-off ranges to close air support
• Robust multicriteria tracking algorithms, for fixed or moving targets
• Equipment availability maximized thanks to SmartFleetTM solution
• Qualified and Combat Proven on Dassault Rafale with french and foreign forces.
• Qualified for aircraft carrier operations.

Service in Indian air force

The TALIOS has not been sold to the Indian Air Force yet. The Indian Air Force has been using variants of the Litening target acquisition system from Israel’s Rafael for several years now. In 2016, Rafael revealed it would supply 164 Litening pods to the Indian Air Force. The Litening has been integrated to several aircraft of the Indian Air Force, including the Mirage-2000, Jaguar and Su-30MKI. In 2017, Rafael expressed interest in supplying the Litening for the Indian Air Force’s Rafale fleet.

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