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BAE Systems has received a GBP 870 M (EUR 1.02 Bn) contract from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to continue development and integration work on the European Common Radar System (ECRS) Mk2 for installation on the Eurofighter Typhoon, the company announced on 4 July 2023.

The majority of this funding will flow on to Leonardo UK as the lead for the aircraft’s main sensing and survivability systems, which includes the ECRS Mk2: an advanced active electronically scanned-array (AESA) radar that also features electronic attack (EA) and electronic warfare (EW) capabilities.

Development and integration work on the ECRS Mk2 thus far has been conducted under a GBP 317 M contract awarded to BAE Systems and Leonardo in September 2020. This saw the first ECRS Mk2 delivered by Leonardo to BAE Systems’ Warton site in April this year, where it is undergoing integration work and ground-based testing in preparation for its first flight tests next year on board Typhoon BS116, which is a Royal Air Force (RAF) test and evaluation aircraft loaned back to BAE Systems for its work.

The first ECRS Mk2 radar was delivered by Leonardo UK to BAE System in April and is currently being used for ground testing. It is due to fly in a Typhoon in 2024. (Photo: Leonardo)

The new funding announced on 4 July, a BAE spokesperson confirmed, will see the ECRS Mk2 progressed to the point where it is ready to go into production, with 12 radar sets produced under this latest contract.

ESD has previously been told by a BAE Systems spokesperson that the work required to fit the ECRS Mk2 into a Typhoon “is an incredibly invasive, intrusive modification involving the entire front end of the aircraft, [involving a] new radome, new line-replaceable units, not just the antenna itself, [and] new cooling equipment. It’s a very involved, invasive upgrade.”

The current planning assumption of the UK MoD is that the ECRS Mk2 will be integrated on all 40 of the RAF’s Tranche 3 Typhoons, although the MoD has announced it is retaining the option to also fit the radar onto the RAF’s 67 Tranche 2 Typhoons.

The RAF’s initial operational capability with the ECRS Mk2 is currently forecast for 2030.

Peter Felstead