Swedish defence electronics supplier Ericsson Microwave Systems has held talks with French rival Thales to jointly develop a fully-integrated multirole radar system for potential use in all European fighters.

Ericsson is preparing an upgrade programme for the Swedish air force's PS-05/A radar system - equipping its Saab/BAE Systems Gripens - from the Mk3 Jura single data processor version to the fourth generation Greta, a high-resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR). The company is also set to launch a demonstration programme of the fifth-generation Nora version of the radar, which uses an active electronically scanned array (AESA), on Swedish air force JA37 Viggens by the end of this year.

Ericsson has studied development of a sixth-generation, fully integrated multi-function system, dubbed Eira. Any such radar, fusing active and passive data, would only be possible as a combined European project, says Bertil Hellström, Ericsson Microwave Systems' vice-president, international business development.

"No European radar company could bear the costs of such a development on its own", says Hellström.

BAE Systems Avionics is offering the Captor SAR radar for Tranche 2 production of the four-nation Eurofighter Typhoon, while the F2 standard Dassault Rafale will feature Thales' RBE2 electronically scanned radar. Both programmes will have a requirement for fully-integrated radar and electronic warfare systems for third-batch aircraft developments due towards the end of the decade, says Hellström. Ericsson is talking to "major suppliers" about assistance with Nora, leading to joint development. "Theoretically, if two suppliers are on the same timeline, they could jointly develop a system," he says.

Ericsson is in talks with suppliers including Thales alongside inter-governmental talks led by Sweden to define possible work share.

The Jura version of the PS-05/A is the baseline standard for the export version of the Gripen fighter.

Source: Flight International