BAE Systems has installed a prototype of Leonardo UK’s ECRS Mk2 active electronically scanned array radar on a first Eurofighter Typhoon, as part of a major development programme for the Royal Air Force (RAF).

Now fitted on single-seat test aircraft BS116 (ZK355), the next-generation sensor is due to commence flight trials this year from BAE’s Warton site in Lancashire, following additional integration work inside its Typhoon final assembly hangar.

Typhoon BS116 with ECRS Mk2

Source: BAE Systems

Test asset BS116 has had its new ECRS Mk2 radar installed at BAE Systems’ Warton site

“Equipping the aircraft with this prototype radar moves us a step closer to delivering new capability which ensures Typhoon’s role as the backbone of combat air defence for decades to come,” says Andy Holden, radar delivery director at BAE Systems’ Air sector unit.

Holden notes that the future flight-test campaign will enable industry to validate the results of ground-based testing already performed using an integrated test facility at the Warton site. This has enabled BAE and Leonardo to de-risk the programme by simulating hundreds of hours of flight activity.

The UK Ministry of Defence last year placed an £870 million ($1.1 billion) contract with project lead BAE to advance the ECRS Mk2 integration effort. Its programme calls for 40 Tranche 3 Typhoons to be equipped with the new radar, with operational introduction slated by 2030.

Its funding allocation – part of a wider programme worth more than £2.3 billion – covered the delivery of additional prototypes and an initial 12 production radar sets.

Once in use, the new multi-functional array will enable the combat aircraft to perform additional roles such as electronic attack and jamming.

“The radar’s processor, receiver, and antenna power supply and control units have all been re-engineered to further enhance the capacity, capability, and performance of the Mk2 system in alignment with the new antenna and electronic warfare capability,” says Ross Wilson, Leonardo UK’s vice-president engineering, radar and advanced targeting.

“These production designs have all passed their critical design review phases, keeping the production programme on schedule,” he adds. Leonardo UK in April 2023 delivered the prototype radar which has now been fitted on the test aircraft.

Cirium fleets data shows that the RAF’s Tranche 3, FGR4-standard test asset BS116 was delivered to the service in December 2013.