The UK Ministry of Defence has awarded BAE Systems and Leonardo a contract to modernize the radars of the Royal Air Force’s Typhoon combat aircraft fleet.
Under the 870-million pound ($1.1 billion) agreement, the companies will equip the fighter jets with the European Common Radar Systems (ECRS) Mk2, a programmable electronic warfare device that uses wideband attacks to detect and jam adversary radars.
Work for the radar’s development and integration will run for five years, with an initial flight test scheduled for 2024.
Integrating ‘Cutting-Edge’ Capability
The contract builds on the UK’s 2.35-billion pound ($2.98 billion) plan announced last year seeking revamped Typhoon radars in response to emerging aerospace threats.
Completing this effort will allow the Typhoon jets to deploy alongside F-35B Lightning IIs in various combat scenarios without the risk of detection.
In addition, the radar’s extended range and passive operability will allow pilots to identify threats far from enemy air defenses.
“This is the first of a number of contracts that will continue our journey to equip the RAF with the edge to protect our nation,” UK Defence Equipment & Support Vice Admr. Rick Thompson stated.
“Developing ECRS Mk2 not only provides cutting-edge capability but crucially, also ensures that advanced technical skills and expertise in delivering complex sensors are available to support the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) right here in the UK.”
UK Typhoon Program
BAE Systems currently leads the overall design, production, and upgrade for the British Typhoon program.
Meanwhile, Leonardo is in charge of the fleet’s primary sensing and survivability systems, including radars and defensive technologies.
The program sustains over 20,000 jobs across the UK. In the ECRS Mk2 development, approximately 600 roles are supported, including more than 400 at Leonardo’s Edinburgh and Luton sites and 120 at BAE’s Lancashire facility.
“The continued evolution of Typhoon as a world-class combat air platform ensures the RAF maintains its advantage and protects the vibrant eco-system that supports our sovereign combat air capability in the UK, through sustaining and evolving the technical skills central to the UK’s future combat air strategy,” BAE Systems Managing Director Andrea Thompson said.