DAIMLER-BENZ Aerospace (DASA) is in the final stages of negotiation to join GEC-Marconi and Thomson-CSF in a next-generation combat-aircraft radar programme. Go-ahead for the deal could come as early as June.
The agreement will clear the way for the present GEC-Thomson Radar (GTAR) company becoming GEC-Thomson Daimler-Benz Radar, with each partner taking a one third stake in the venture.
The move would be followed in August by the launch of the tri-national phase of GTAR's active-array multi-role solid-state airborne-radar (AMSAR) programme.
The tri-national programme would merge the work done on AMSAR to-date with DASA's Radar 2000 programme, and could be the first step toward the creation of restructured European radar industry on a par with US rivals such as Hughes and Westinghouse, say officials at DASA's sensor systems division in Ulm.
DASA says that Radar 2000 has just entered its second phase, which will involve the construction and testing of a complete array of cigar-shaped transmitter/receiver modules. The first phase, which was completed at the end of 1994, led to the production and testing of two prototype 5W modules.
The final tri-national radar will be an electronically scanning device with an antenna made up of an array of some 1,500 to 2,000 such modules, depending on aperture size.
DASA says, that the Radar 2000 work to date has been harmonised with GTAR's AMSAR development. While the binational AMSAR is a demonstrator programme, the tri-national phase will signal the beginning of the development of production-standard radar, to replace the Eurofighter's ECR90 and Rafale's RBE2 radar in future mid-life upgrades.
GTAR officials say that an "agile", electronically steered, beam would allow the overlay of a terrain-avoidance function onto the air-defence function of the radar, allowing low-level air-to-air engagements.