Leonardo has signed a contract to complete the development of a game-changing new radar, ready to be integrated into the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Typhoon fleet, which will transform the aircraft’s control of the air and provide additional electronic warfare capabilities.

The contract, awarded by BAE Systems to Leonardo, will see further development of technology and integration work on the European Common Radar System (ECRS) Mk2 radar by Leonardo and BAE Systems. BAE Systems leads the overall design, development, manufacture and upgrade of the Typhoon aircraft for the UK, Leonardo is the lead for the aircraft’s main sensing and survivability systems including its radar, defensive aids sub-system and infrared search and track system.

The contract is part of the UK Government announcement made in July 2022, to invest £2.35 billion in the continued technology advancements in Typhoon capabilities, as recognition of its long-term role supporting national security and defence priorities. The new radar will ensure the RAF Typhoons can simultaneously detect, identify and track various targets on land and at sea, providing greater Air Power capability.

A prototype of the state-of-the-art radar, developed and manufactured by Leonardo in Edinburgh and Luton, is undergoing specialist testing in a unique facility at BAE Systems combat air site in Warton, Lancashire. The work is expected to lead to initial flight testing in 2024.

Mark Hamilton, Managing Director Electronics UK, Leonardo, said: “The ECRS MK2 Radar programme will deliver world leading capabilities developed by our skilled engineers in both Edinburgh and Luton. We are extremely proud to be contributing in such a way to the safety and security of the United Kingdom as well as ensuring that the UK is equipped to play a central role in next generation combat air programmes. ECRS MK2 will not only provide critical capability to Typhoon but will also develop and sustain critical skills relevant to other future developments and core programmes in the air domain.”

Andrea Thompson, Managing Director – Europe & International, BAE Systems Air, said: “Typhoon is a fantastic aircraft which continues to provide crucial support to defence and security operations around the world, including NATO policing in Eastern Europe. The continued evolution of Typhoon as a world-class combat air platform ensures that the RAF maintain its advantage and protects the vibrant eco-system that supports our sovereign combat air capability in the UK, through sustaining and evolving the technical skills that are central to the UK’s future combat air strategy.”

The Typhoon aircraft is a highly capable and extremely agile multi-role combat aircraft, capable of being deployed for the full spectrum of air operations, including air policing, peace support and high-intensity conflict. The RAF Typhoons are deployed alongside F-35B Lightning II to provide frontline capability for the RAF.

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