Hopes raised for Captor-E tests

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Euroradar is hoping a Typhoon testbed will be available for CEASAR

The Euroradar consortium is hoping its Captor-E active electron- ically scanned array radar (CAESAR) could fly aboard a Eurofighter Typhoon for the first time late this year, depending on aircraft availability. Discussions are under way with Eurofighter International on potential timings, says Dr Elmar Compans, senior vice-president sensors and product support at EADS Defence Electronics.

“The date is not yet fixed,” he says, but trials are likely to use one of the existing Typhoon test aircraft based at EADS’s Manching facility near Munich. “The discussion is all about getting slots.”

The proposed Eurofighter trials would follow an initial flight test programme of a three-quarter-scale Captor-E prototype using a modified BAC One-Eleven in the UK earlier this year. This involved 50 radar runs conducted across seven sorties. “The antenna and the whole radar operated successfully for over 20h with no failure, which is remarkable for a prototype,” says Compans. The trials included two dedicated co-operative targets and commercial aircraft in adjacent airspace.

Fit checks of a Captor-E prototype were carried out by EADS using a German air force Eurofighter two years ago. The radar is being proposed as part of Tranche 3 production of the Typhoon from 2012, with the mechanically-scanned Captor-M system integrated with Tranche 2 aircraft incorporating space and weight provision for later upgrade to the CAESAR standard.

Euroradar says the proposed Typhoon flights would be aimed at demonstrating overall integration of the new radar with the aircraft’s mechanical, structural, electronic and environmental control systems, as well as avionics and displays.

The trials would also gather preliminary synthetic-aperture radar mode data to optimise functionality for production systems. “This cannot be done well on the testbed aircraft because the flight envelope of the BAC One-Eleven is different to Eurofighter,” says Compans.