Hensoldt and Rafael Team for Luftwaffe Electronic Warfare Pod

 - October 21, 2022, 5:53 AM
An artist’s impression depicts a Typhoon armed with Meteor and Iris-T missiles carrying an enhanced Sky Shield pod on the centerline. (Photo: Rafael)

Germany’s prime sensor solutions provider Hensoldt has joined forces with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems of Israel to develop an electronic warfare (EW) pod for the Eurofighter Typhoon. The agreement was signed in Tel Aviv on October 18 by Hensoldt CEO Thomas Müller and Rafael’s president and CEO Yoav Har-Even.

The joint endeavor will enhance Rafael’s Sky Shield airborne EW pod with Hensoldt’s Kalaetron Attack technology, which combines active electronically-scanned array technology with full digitization and artificial intelligence to create a jamming and electronic attack system that can be used for self-defense or for escort and stand-off jamming. By using 3D metallic printing the Kalaetron Attack package can be made small enough to be accommodated in standard airborne pods. The technology has been undergoing extensive ground trials.

Rafael developed the Sky Shield as an escort jammer system covering frequencies from 1 to 18GHz. It employs a digital radio frequency memory (DRFM) technique generator. The pod uses the same interface as Rafael’s Litening targeting pod, reducing integration time and costs for aircraft that are already cleared to carry Litening, such as the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Hensoldt and Rafael are aiming the new pod squarely at the German requirement for an electronic attack version of the Typhoon, which was announced in March along with the intention to procure the Lockheed Martin F-35A to replace Tornado IDS aircraft in the nuclear-sharing role. Earlier, Berlin had announced a preference for the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet for the IDS replacement requirement, with EA-18G Growlers slated for the EW role.

The Elektronischer Kampf (EK, electronic combat) version of the Typhoon—first proposed by Airbus Germany in 2019 based on an aircraft carrying podded jammers—is intended to achieve initial operating capability in 2028 as a replacement for the Luftwaffe’s Tornado ECRs that currently operate in the defense suppression role, albeit without an escort jamming capability. The new pod is being promoted as a mature, off-the-shelf solution. Saab has also put forward a version of its Electronic Attack Jamming Pod from its Arexis EW family for the Luftwaffe requirement.