Italian electronics manufacturer Elettronica (Stand 1030) and the Italian air force are cooperating on the development of a podded “escort jammer” to provide the service’s Tornado and possibly Eurofighter Typhoon fighters with advanced jamming capability. Elettronica’s aim is to produce a platform-neutral system that could be fitted to most currently deployed fighters in Europe, executives said Sunday at the Dubai Airshow.
The jammer will be contained in a centerline pod measuring four-to-six meters, attached to the belly of the aircraft. Executives declined to specify how long the system has been in development or when it will become operational. According to a press release, the air force selected Rome-based Elettronica “for the achieved maturity” of key technologies, including phased array antennas, solid state receivers and transmitters, a digital receiver and digital radio frequency memory.
Elettronica president and CEO Enzo Benigni said the escort jammer is “an important strategic system” made necessary by a proliferation of low frequency band threats. “The air force is offering their facilities for the integration,” he said. “The system, electronically-speaking, exists. What is new is the integration of the system” in an airborne pod.
Eugenio Santagata, Elettronica chief marketing and strategy officer, said the Tornado and possibly the Typhoon will carry the new pod, which will be designed to be “neutral” as to aircraft type. The F-35 is not among the types being considered. “The F-35 is a different story,” Santagata said. “We’re concerned with platforms we know we can manage, like the Tornado and Typhoon.”
Santagata concurred with Benigni that the core technology is “mature,” and that Elettronica’s challenge lies in the integration and ensuring electromagnetic compatibility with the host aircraft systems. Asked when the jammer will be operational, he said “shortly.”