BAE Systems and Leonardo have been awarded a joint £317 million contract to develop the next generation of radar technology and Future Combat Air Systems for the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoons.
The project, which is to develop the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) European Common Radar System (ECRS) for integration on the RAF Typhoon, will sustain more than 600 highly skilled jobs across the country. This includes more than 300 working at Leonardo’s Edinburgh site, 100 electronic warfare specialists in Luton and 120 engineers at BAE System’s Lancashire site.
BAE Systems, the UK’s prime contractor for the Typhoon, will integrate the new sensor that is to be delivered by Leonardo. The ECRS Mk2 is a completely new approach designed to meet the operational needs of the RAF and future export customers. Game-changing technology, the ECRS Mk2 will equip pilots with the ability to locate, identify and suppress enemy air defences using jamming, engaging targets beyond the reach of threats. This is far in advance of the current mechanically scanning radar currently featured on the Eurofighter Typhoon.
It has significantly more transmit-receive elements than other radars, making Mk 2 the most capable fighter radar in the world, maintaining the same power and precision of traditional radars but also enabling the simultaneous operation of its wide-band Electronic Warfare functionality.
Andrea Thompson, Managing Director Europe & International for BAE Systems’ Air sector, said:
"This capability will allow Typhoon to take its place in the future battlespace for decades to come, maturing key technologies for future combat air systems and ensuring interoperability. As well as securing highly-skilled jobs, it will sustain the key skills needed to keep the UK at the forefront of the global Combat Air sector. We look forward to continuing to work alongside the Eurofighter nations and our industry partners to ensure Typhoon delivers the needs of today and answers the challenges of tomorrow.”
Mark Hamilton, Senior Vice President Electronic Warfare, Leonardo said:
“This contract is great news for the UK, which will get the world’s most capable fighter radar, and great news for British engineering. Inventing, developing and building advanced technology here in the UK allows us to understand and meet the specific requirements of our Armed Forces and to secure export orders all around the world, boosting the whole UK economy.”
BAE Systems and Leonardo have also recently joined forces with several other aerospace and defence companies to develop the next generation of combat aircraft to eventually replace the Eurofighter Typhoon. First announced in 2018, several companies including Thales, Rolls Royce and the Ministry of Defence are working together to utilise emergent technologies to make the aircraft the most advanced in the world. The Tempest aircraft is currently scheduled to join the RAF fleet in 2035.