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Australian International Airshow - Wild Weasel air defence upgrade offered to RAAF

EADS is offering the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) a modular Wild Weasel system to provide a suppression of enemy air defences (SEAD) capability.

The proposal is based on the Panavia Tornado ECR upgrade developed by DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (now EADS) for the German air force, but it incorporates lessons learned from recent operations over Bosnia and Yugoslavia. As well as SEAD missions, the German air force uses the ECR for electronic reconnaissance, gathering data for the electronic order of battle and electronic warfare systems.

An EADS source says the system's modularity allows it to be offered to a range of two-seat aircraft, although the company suggests the chosen platform should have good endurance and/or in-flight refuelling capability. The RAAF's General Dynamics F-111s and Boeing F/A-18B Hornets could be possible platforms, although the former is the more likely choice.

EADS proposes equipping a Wild Weasel with its fast emitter location system and radar warning equipment along with an inertial navigation/GPS satellite navigation system, datalink, threat awareness and rear seat multifunction displays and a digital recorder. These will all be linked via a dedicated electronic warfare bus which has a single link to the aircraft's existing avionics and systems.

Anti-radiation weapons - such as the Raytheon AGM-88 HARM used by Germany - would be integrated through the aircraft's weapon system.

EADS is offering to provide the Wild Weasel system with modification, logistics and training either at its Manching, Germany site or at a customer location. It is likely that proof of concept modifications would be provided in Germany while the series upgrade would be in the customer's country.

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