Leonardo has revealed two sales of its Vixen 500E AESA radar. Romania has bought one to fit on one of its IAR-99 Soim ("Swift") jet trainer/light attack aircraft as a trial. The U.S. Navy is adding one to a Fairchild C-26 Metroliner operated by its Test Pilot School.
The Romanian National Institute for Aerospace Research (INCAS) is funding a new technology demonstration on the third prototype IAR-99, to provide “new sensing and combat capabilities,” according to Dr. Catalin Nae, general manager. He added, “The Vixen 500E radar system will bring the capability that we consider critical with respect to the operational environment for our future trainer.” The maker of the IAR-99, Avioane Craiova, will also be involved. The company has made previous attempts to upgrade the avionics of the IAR-99, in cooperation with IAI and Elbit Systems of Israel, and offer it for export, although not with a radar.
Norman Bone, managing director of Leonardo’s Airborne and Space Systems division, said: “This partnership with INCAS is representative of Leonardo’s open and collaborative approach to meeting the demands of the market. We see further commercial potential outside of Romania and are looking forward to working with INCAS to address this.” Leonardo claims that the Vixen 500E AESA offers a combination of high performance with reliability and low cost of ownership.
In addition to the radar supplied for the U.S. Navy C-26, Leonardo said that it had previously sold the Vixen 500E to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It did not specify which type of DHS aircraft has been fitted.