Douglas Barrie/LONDON

Germany's defence ministry is once again re-considering its position on a defensive-aids subsystem (DASS) for the Eurofighter EF2000 in the run-up to the project's approval by the German parliament.

The other Eurofighter partner nations -Italy, Spain, and the UK - are effectively procuring a common DASS for the aircraft, but Germany withdrew from this element of the programme in 1991, instead looking at either an off-the- shelf or a national solution.

The three-nation DASS programme, which is being led by the EURODASS consortium, includes the development of a towed radar decoy (TRD). The GEC-Marconi-designed TRD has already been test flown on EF2000 Development Aircraft 2. Sources say that it has attracted the interest of the German air force, which has already test flown the GEC-Marconi TRD on a Panavia Tornado, and is understood to have been considering purchasing a limited number of the systems for its Tornado Electronic Combat Reconnaissance aircraft.

The GEC-Marconi TRD purchase, however, met industrial opposition in Germany since Daimler-Benz Aerospace (Dasa) is also developing a TRD.

This project is at a much earlier phase in its development than is the GEC TRD.

A German air force purchase of the GEC towed decoy for the Tornado would have put the company in a strong position to also supply its TRD for the German air force's EF2000s.

Dasaand GEC have held numerous talks in attempting to resolve the DASS dilemma, so far with no success. While it is now understood to be too late for Dasa to become involved in the DASS development programme, it could rejoin the production phase.

The EF2000 will carry two radar decoys on its starboard wing-tip pod. Trials of the TRD have so far cleared its deployment at subsonic speeds and in turns of up to 4g. Further tests will clear its use at supersonic speeds. Some design modifications are being considered for the EF2000 decoy.

Unlike the GEC-Marconi TRD deployed on the Royal Air Force's Tornado F3, the EF2000 design does not at present include a recovery parachute.

Source: Flight International