Saab Avitronics has received a contract of undisclosed value to provide a variant of its BOZ Enhanced Capability (EC) countermeasures dispenser pod for the Italian air force's Panavia Tornado fleet.

Covering an unspecified number of systems, the contract addresses an urgent operational requirement to enhance the protection of Italian Tornados against shoulder-launched, infrared-guided surface-to-air missiles in Afghanistan, where a detachment of reconnaissance-configured Interdictor Strike aircraft are now deployed.

Saab Avitronics will refurbish and upgrade existing Italian air force BOZ-102 pods with its compact defensive aids suite, which includes an electronic warfare controller, four-sensor MAW-300 ultraviolet-based missile approach warning system and five BOP countermeasures dispensers.

Tornado Italy - Dragon Lady 
 © Italian air force

The new BOZ-102EC self-protection system (computer-generated image below) has a mass and centre of gravity within the clearance tolerances of the baseline design, and keeps the existing aircraft interface. No specific integration activities are foreseen for initial operational capability, which will see deployed aircraft carry one baseline pod and one upgraded BOZ-102EC.

 BOZ pod Italy
© Saab Avitronics

Saab Avitronics will deliver one modified pod a month from the middle of this year, says the Italian air force, which hopes to eventually support its entire Tornado fleet with the new system. An acquisition option could be exercised in the current fiscal year.

Source: Flight International