C-160G Transall Gabriel
Two highly modified C-160 Transall ‘Gabriel' are operated by Escadron Electronique EE54 ‘Dunkerque’ in a tactical SIGINT role from their base at Mtez-Frescaty. The 2 aircraft F221 ‘GS’ (c/n224) and F216 ‘GT’ (c/n 219) are believed to be operated by a flight crew of 2 pilots and a navigator. The rear cabin houses 4 SIGINT operators, 8 COMINT operators and a SIGINT Director. The aircraft carries an ELINT subsystem provided by Thompson-CSF Radars & Contremesures for detectiom, analysis and location of radar sources, together with a COMINT subsystem provided by Thompson-CSF Communications for detection, interception, classification, listening-in, analysis and location of radio transmitters. The aircraft also have a photographic reconnaissance capability and can carry a variety of cameras in the rear fuselage.
The two aircraft are generally deployed in support of French military interests and are known to have operated over the Baltic, the Gulf and Kosovo.
The aircraft can be easily distinguished from the standard C-160 Transall by a variety of fuselage fairings, wing-tip pods and prominent antennas on the top of the fuselage and wings. When airborne the aircraft also lowers two rotating ‘dustbin’ radomes from under the forward and rear fuselage.