Next-gen Typhoon fighter radar integrated into RAF aircraft ahead of test flights

BAE Systems

The European Common Radar System or ECRS Mark 2 radar, set to equip the next generation of RAF Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets, has been successfully integrated into a test and evaluation aircraft ahead of upcoming flight trials. 

Ground-based testing of the ECRS Mark 2 prototype has been conducted at BAE Systems’ facility in Warton, Lancashire, in recent months. The radar has now been successfully installed on the UK test and evaluation aircraft, BS116, by a collaborative effort involving BAE Systems and Leonardo UK engineers. 

“The radar’s Processor, Receiver, and Antenna Power Supply & Control units have all been re-engineered to further enhance the capacity, capability, and performance of the Mk2 system,” stated Ross Wilson, VP of Engineering Radar and Advanced Targeting at Leonardo UK. 

Flight testing of the ECRS Mark 2 radar is expected to take place later in 2024. The radar will now undergo additional integration work within the Typhoon final assembly hangar at Warton, paving the way for the anticipated flight tests. 

What is Leonardo’s European Common Radar System Mark 2 radar? 

Developed by Leonardo and integrated into the Typhoon by BAE Systems, the ECRS Mark 2 introduces a multi-functional array (MFA). This technology allows the radar to perform traditional functions such as search and targeting, while also conducting electronic warfare tasks. 

The high-gain sensor allows it to track airborne targets and surface-based emitters without emitting a signal, making it versatile for disrupting hostile emitters, whether they are airborne or surface-based. 

One of the radar’s standout features is its ability to execute a potent electronic jamming attack, enabling the Eurofighter Typhoon to locate and neutralize an adversary’s radar while maintaining a safe distance from potential threats. 

The fleet of RAF Typhoon fighters will undergo a modernization program to be fitted with the AESA ECRS Mk2 radar. Operational introduction is expected by 2030. 

“Spiral upgrades, including the integration of the UK-development Spear Cap 3, will be enhanced by a significant investment in Radar 2, providing a leap in operation capability that will ensure the Typhoon Force can survive and operate in the most challenging threat scenarios,” RAF spokesperson Martin Tinworth explained to AeroTime. 

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