Eurofighter Signs New Contract, Describes AESA Radar Status

 - November 1, 2013, 10:40 AM
Eurofighter announced a new development contract, and the weapons configuration shown here (laser designator pod; four Paveway IV bombs; two IRIS-T SRAAMs; four AMRAAMS and two supersonic fuel tanks) is now fully cleared for service. (Photo: Josef Gietl, Cassidian)

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.

The EP2 package is due for delivery by the end of 2015. It includes enhancements to the defensive aids subsystem (DASS); multifunction information and distribution system (MIDS); flight control system (FCS) and utility control system (UCS). The Captor-M radar will be upgraded to allow firing of the Meteor BVRAAM. Eurofighter chief executive officer Alberto Gutierrez said the EP2 contract represents a significant milestone, ensuring that “the capability package we offer our customers is the best anywhere in the world.”

However, the package does not include long-awaited replacement of the mechanically scanned Captor-M with the E-scan (advanced electronically scanned array) version. Nor does it formalize the integration of additional weapons such as the MBDA Storm Shadow cruise missile. A Eurofighter spokesman explained that EP2 would pave the way for such capability improvements. He said the company has not released the list of future upgrades known as the Phase Two Enhancements (P2E), but AIN believes it includes the E-scan radar and the Storm Shadow.

The spokesman said Eurofighter and the Euroradar consortium started full-scale development of the E-scan radar in July 2010 and had made a significant investment. A development radar would be tested this year and would fly on Instrumented Production Aircraft (IPA) 5 in 2014. “The E-scan radar will be available to the market when our current and potential customers need it,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Phase One Enhancements (P1E) are now fully integrated, after flight tests on IPA numbers 4 and 7. They comprise full laser-guided bomb integration (Paveway IV and EGBU-16), including the laser designation pod; digital integration of the short-range air-air missiles, such as Iris-T; upgrades to the MIDS and the helmet-mounted sight (HMS) to allow for air-surface attacks; IFF Mode 5; and improvements to the radios, DASS and the direct voice input (DVI) system.

Commenting on the conclusion of P1E flight tests, Cassidian’s Eurofighter project pilot Chris Worning said, “Deploying multiple weapons with attack constraints simultaneously in all weather has never been easier.” The customer air forces will be able to introduce the package by the end of the year.