Eurofighter has signed a new development contract with the four European partner nations for the Typhoon. The Evolution Package 2 (EP2) comprises various improvements to the combat jet’s avionics. Two days earlier, EADS Cassidian said that flight testing of an earlier set of improvements had been completed.
Oman confirmed a long-expected order for 12 Eurofighter Typhoons, and also decided to buy eight BAE Systems Hawk advanced jet trainers (AJTs). The contract is worth about $3.75 billion; deliveries will begin in 2017. The Typhoons will replace aging Jaguar strike aircraft in the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO), while the Hawk AJTs will supplement or replace the RAFO’s Hawk Mk103/203s. BAE Systems will provide in-service support.
With facilities in Italy and the UK, Selex Galileo lies at the heart of radar developments in Europe. Not only is the company heavily involved in two of Europe’s three new-generation fighter programs, but it is also making important strides in the field of surveillance radars for patrol aircraft, helicopters and UAVs. Active electronically scanned antenna (AESA), or e-scan, technology is at the center of this capability.
Development of an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for the Eurofighter Typhoon is continuing, although the four European partner nations still have not collectively committed funds. However, at the Paris Air Show later this month they plan to sign a letter of intent (LoI) with Eurofighter that confirms their intention to eventually adopt and pay for the new technology.
A prototype of the very latest type of active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar will be flying on a Eurofighter Typhoon in 2013, so that customers can take delivery in 2015. The Captor-E will feature an innovative “re-positioner” with two rotating joints so that the array can cover a wide field of regard (WFoR).
The strategic importance of active array airborne radar technology in Europe cannot be understated, according to EADS Defence Electronics (Hall 2 Stand A151). The company has invested heavily in advanced transmit/receive (T/R) modules that have a variety of applications. The advantages of using T/R modules for airborne fire control, as well as airborne and ground-based surveillance are well recognized.
Eurofighter has offered India codevelopment of an active antenna for the Typhoon’s Captor radar, as part of its bid to secure that country’s 126-unit order for a new combat aircraft. Eurofighter CEO Aloysius Rauen said that there had been “positive discussions” with India about a plan that would share the costs of converting the mechanically scanned Captor with the four original Eurofighter partner nations.
Eurofighter reached an agreement with Austria over the disputed contract for 18 Typhoons, as predicted by AIN at Paris. The compromise involved trimming the $2.7 billion agreement by three aircraft and $500 million in cost.
“Even though you can still buy VHS videotape movies almost everyone buys DVDs instead,” Steve Martin, head of campaigns UK and naval radar systems for Selex, told a press conference here yesterday. “E-scan (the UK term for AESA) radars are the DVDs of the airborne systems world of today.”
The Eurofighter Typhoon program is one of the longest running projects in the history of military aircraft. The sheer number of years from initial design studies to production deliveries to the air forces of the four original partner nations (Germany, the UK, Spain and Italy) has been fodder for criticism that the program has become a mammoth, never-ending defense project that imposed an excessive burden on taxpayers.