European aerospace giant Airbus announced that German and Spanish Eurofighter fighter jet will be equipped with the Next-generation more capable fighter jet radar.
The company’s news release said the Airbus has been awarded a contract for the development, supply and integration of 115 Eurofighter ESCAN Radars for the German and Spanish Eurofighter fleet.
As noted by the company, it marks the so far largest order for the world’s most modern electronically scanned array radar, Captor-E. The contract signature followed the approval by both governments in recent weeks.
The contract foresees the delivery and integration of 110 Captor-E radars for Germany and an initial batch of 5 radars for Spain to be delivered by 2023. The new sensor will equip Tranche 2 and Tranche 3 Eurofighters as well as new aircraft. Whereas the Airbus sites in Manching, Germany and Getafe, Spain will act as overall integration Hub, the development and building of the radar will be subcontracted to a consortium under the leadership of Hensoldt and Indra and by participation of further Eurofighter partner companies.
“The contract for the Captor-E radar is a main achievement to equip Eurofighter with sensors that ensure todays dominance of the aircraft also in the threat scenarios of tomorrow”, said Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. “With Eurofighter, Germany and Spain are investing in a strong backbone of European air defence and in the leading project of the European defence industry.”
Eurofighter Captor-E is the world’s most advanced electronically scanned array radar for fighter aircraft. The design of the front fuselage airframe allows Eurofighter to deliver the largest electronically scanned array for increased detection and tracking ranges, advanced Air-to-Surface capability and enhanced electronic protection measures. The large antenna surface also allows a wider field of regard than any other platform pushing the aircraft’s performance and guaranteeing its role as a valuable asset within the Future Combat Aircraft System environment.
The signed contract will also give an additional push to the export tenders Eurofighter is currently bidding for.
On 18 June 2020, Berlin has approved a contract for sensor house Hensoldt to complete development, production and integration work on an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for its air force fleet of Eurofighter combat aircraft.
“With this decision, Germany is taking on a pioneering role in the field of key technology for the Eurofighter for the first time,” says Hensoldt chief executive Thomas Mueller.
Announced by the German government’s budget committee on 17 June, the deal for Mk1 AESA sensors is worth more than €1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) to Hensoldt. “In contrast to the development of the radar to date in a consortium under British leadership”, the company notes that it will assume full design authority for the system.
“This will create high-tech jobs in Germany and give the Bundeswehr the equipment it needs to respond to new threats,” Mueller says. ”In addition, it is a signal for Europe that Germany is investing in a technology that is of crucial importance for European defence cooperation.”
Hensoldt expects the business to create another 400 jobs at its Ulm site in Bavaria. Meanwhile, Airbus Defence & Space will be responsible for equipment design supporting the installation.
Speaking the day before the confirmation, Airbus Defence & Space chief executive Dirk Hoke hinted at the step.
“On the German side, we see strong support to accelerate the project of the electronic radar for Eurofighter,” he said during a lecture webcast by the Royal Aeronautical Society. Hoke also hopes that Berlin will place a Project Quadriga contract before year-end to supply the Luftwaffe with another 38 of the aircraft.
Germany’s commitment makes it the first of the four core Eurofighter partner nations – also including Italy, Spain and the UK – to fund AESA production and integration for its fleet. Export customers Kuwait and Qatar are also acquiring AESA technology, with their Typhoons to have Captor-E sensors developed by the Leonardo UK-led Euroradar consortium.
The UK, meanwhile, continues to work on the development of Captor-E for future integration with some of the Royal Air Force’s Typhoons.