Selex nears AESA radar delivery for Gripen

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Selex Galileo is within weeks of delivering a new version of its Raven ES-05 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar for integration with Saab's two-seat demonstrator for the next-generation Gripen E/F.

Now in the final stages of testing at the Finmeccanica company's Edinburgh site in Scotland, the sensor will be displayed along with the Gripen at July's Farnborough air show.

 

© Armasuisse

"We will begin developmental test flights after Farnborough," says Bob Mason, Selex Galileo's senior vice-president marketing and sales, radar and advanced targeting. The equipment will also support evaluation of the latest AESA standard by pilots from Switzerland's air force and Armasuisse procurement agency later this year. The nation is negotiating a planned 22-aircraft order for the Gripen E/F, following a selection decision taken in November 2011.

Mason says the radar developer has a strong business case linked to the Raven, as Sweden is also expected to acquire the sensor as part of future Gripen purchases or during upgrades to its in-service examples. "It will be much more substantial than the 22 aircraft for the Swiss," he adds.

 

© Selex Galileo

Another element of the Swedish fighter's next evolution is also currently in the advanced stages of development, with the first Skyward-G infrared search and track sensor due to be delivered for testing at the end of this year or in early 2013. Selex also plans to offer pod-housed versions of the equipment for integration with additional aircraft types.

Meanwhile, work on the Euroradar Captor-E AESA for the Eurofighter Typhoon is also proceeding, with EADS company Cassidian acting as design authority for the new array.

"We are cracking on, with hardware coming together," Mason says. The first test radar should be delivered early in the second quarter of 2013, and flown by Eurofighter partner company BAE Systems on a Typhoon before the end of that year.

The design retains an upgraded processor and receiver from the mechanically-scanned Captor-M, but adds a new array and an electrically-steered repositioner which will increase the sensor's field of regard by +/-100˚.

"The gain in performance is well worth any minor degradation in mean-time between failure," Mason says. The AESA will deliver enhanced detection performance in air-to-air and air-to-ground modes, plus a synthetic aperture radar mapping function.

Mason says discussions with the four core Eurofighter partner nations are continuing, and believes that "those that have money will join the [AESA] programme in the near future". A production contract could come by mid-2013, with deliveries to commence from around 2015.

The Captor-E will be available as an option for Tranche 3A aircraft to be built for Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, and as a retrofit option for their Tranche 2 aircraft, along with those of Saudi Arabia. The enhancement is also being offered to other potential export customers for the Typhoon, including Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.