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Italy Joins UK in Eurofighter Typhoon Programme

Our Bureau - : Sep 17, 2021 - : 2:00 am

The Italian Air Force will equip its Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft with the new European Common Radar System Mark 2 (ECRS Mk2) radars.

Italy has joined the United Kingdom in developing the advanced radar for the Eurofighter Typhoon, the first step towards Italy’s full participation in the ECRS Mk2 programme.

The first stage of collaboration, to take place this autumn, will see a team of engineers from Leonardo’s Nerviano, Milan-based radar site join the Mk2 development team at Leonardo’s Edinburgh facility.

The focus of the team of Italian engineers will be to contribute towards the successful development of the ECRS Mk2, while at the same time acquiring system design capabilities that will ensure that the Italian MOD has sovereign control over the new radar system at every stage of its operational life. One of the key tenets of the Eurofighter Typhoon programme is that its mission data is open and reprogrammable by national operators, ensuring complete sovereign control of the combat air system.

Specifically, in regards its offer of the Eurofighter Typhoon to Finland, the UK has extended an invitation to join the ECRS Mk2 radar programme, which would include embedding Finnish industry and military personnel within the ECRS Mk2 development team. The country would therefore enjoy capability alignment with the Royal Air Force in a partnership that would deliver both military and industrial benefits.

The ECRS Mk2 programme continues to progress at pace and on schedule with initial system hardware being delivered to BAE System Warton in 2022 for aircraft integration and flight trials. This formation of what is known as the “Industrial Joint Team” (IJT) follows the approval of a ‘Statement of Principles’ (SoP) document by the UK and Italian Ministries of Defence.

The ECRS Mk2 radar, currently being designed and built by Leonardo for integration onto the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft by BAE Systems, will be at the cutting edge of advanced fighter radar technologies. It features a multi-functional array (MFA) that will give Typhoon a world-leading reprogrammable electronic warfare capability, including wide band electronic attack, in addition to traditional radar functions. This means that it can find and then blind an adversary’s radar, increasing the Eurofighter Typhoon’s lethality and survivability, and the survivability of other systems.

RAF Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston said: “Last September, the Ministry of Defence announced our continued investment in the final design stages of the ECRS Mk2 programme; in addition, the Integrated Review committed to the full integration of this world-leading capability onto Typhoon. I am delighted that Italian colleagues will now join Leonardo’s Edinburgh and Luton teams, bringing together our collective skills to deliver this essential capability at pace, both to benefit Typhoon and to underpin the technology growth into the Future Combat Air System.”


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