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Italy Joins UK Next-Generation Eurofighter Radar Development

Italian aerospace firm Leonardo has joined British BAE Systems to develop the new European Common Radar System Mark 2 (ECRS Mk2) radar for the Royal Air Force’s Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

A team of engineers from Leonardo’s Nerviano radar site will join the Mk2 development team at Leonardo’s Edinburgh site in the first stage of development, which will start this Autumn, the Rome-headquartered defense firm revealed.

The development followed the Anglo-Italian firms clinching a £317m ($438 million) contract last year to develop the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar for the Typhoons.

Radar Upgrade

According to BAE Systems, the multi-functional array (MFA) radar will provide the aircraft with electronic warfare capability, including wideband electronic attack, in addition to the traditional radar. The upgrade is a significant technological leap over the mechanically-scanning radar RAF aircraft currently use.

“It will equip RAF pilots with the ability to locate, identify and suppress enemy air defences using high-powered jamming. They can engage targets whilst beyond the reach of threats — even when they’re looking in another direction — and operate inside the range of opposing air defences, remaining fully protected throughout,” BAE Systems wrote. The radar will also enable the aircraft to “link up with future data-driven weapons to combat rapidly evolving air defences.”

Andrea Thompson, Managing Director Europe & International for BAE Systems’ air sector, said: “This capability will allow Typhoon to take its place in the future battlespace for decades to come, maturing key technologies for future combat air systems and ensuring interoperability.”

Aircraft Integration Expected Next Year

The project is expected to sustain more than 600 highly skilled jobs across the UK: 300 at the Edinburg site, over 100 electronic warfare specialists at the company’s Luton site, and 120 engineers at BAE’s Lancashire site.

According to the Leonardo statement, the UK has invited Finland to join the Mk2 development program, which is progressing at pace “to deliver initial system hardware to BAE Systems Warton in 2022 for aircraft integration and flight trials.”

 

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