Armada’s monthly round-up of all the latest electronic warfare news in the product, programme and operational domains.
New Shields for Praetorian
Leonardo announced in mid-July a new package of upgrades for the Praetorian Defensive Aids Subsystem (DASS) equipping the Eurofighter Typhoon series of combat aircraft. The company announced the news via a press release on behalf of EuroDASS. EuroDASS is a consortium comprising ELT Group, Indra and Hensoldt, as well as Leonardo, which share responsibility for Praetorian. The press release said that one of the aims of the upgrade is to enhance the DASS’s ability to work with new radars the aircraft is receiving. Typhoons are due to be equipped with Leonardo’s ECRS Mk.2 and Hensoldt’s ECRS Mk.1 X-band (8.5 gigahertz/GHz to 10.68GHz) fire control radars. Typhoons flown by Germany and Spain will receive the ECRS Mk.1 with the Royal Air Force receiving the ECRS Mk.2, according to reports. The press release said the DASS upgrade will deliver “a digital receiver capability, which will allow Typhoon to better recognise modern and complex targets and their modes of operation, enabling it to deploy the appropriate countermeasures.” The radio frequency waveband Praetorian works in is expected to be extended, although the frequencies this will encompass have not been revealed. The DASS’ signal processing capabilities will also be enhanced, the press release continued. Of particular interest is the convergence of Praetorian with the ECRS Mk.2 to enable the latter to perform electronic attack, as well as conventional radar functions. Phil Liddiard, Leonardo’s vice president for combat air and EuroDASS’ consortium programme lead told Armada that hardware improvements to Praetorian include “(a)n additional digital receiver capability, which will allow Typhoon to better recognise modern and complex targets and their modes of operation, enabling it to deploy the appropriate countermeasures.” Writ large, the upgrade work is part of the Typhoon’s proposed P4E enhancement. The four nations in the Eurofighter consortium (Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) are expected to agree to move ahead with P4E in 2025 says Mr. Lilliard. Assuming P4E goes ahead, Leonardo added that these DASS enhancements could be retrofitted to existing Typhoons. The improved DASS will also be available for export customers.
RFeye for Aerostar
In late June, CRFS announced that its RFeye spectrum monitoring technology is now available onboard Aeronautics’ Aerostar Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle (UAV). Reports stated that RFeye will be used for the detection and location of signals of interest across frequencies of ten megahertz to 18 gigahertz. Reports continued that RFeye has already been integrated onto an Aerostar UAV for a European client. Details of the client have not been made public. CRFS told Armada in a written statement that Aeronautics is now offering RFeye as part of a larger intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance package for the UAV. This package will be offered to existing and future Aerostar customers. CRFS’ statement continued that very little modification of the RFeye was needed to install the system onboard the UAV: “We carefully worked through mechanicals, power, data and the positioning of the measurement antennas relative to any antennas on the airframe,” the statement continued. The aircraft, complete with its RFeye payload, has already been delivered and is in service, CRFS’ statement concluded.
Outfoxing the Jammers
Northrop Grumman revealed in late June that it had conducted a successful flight test of the company’s Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System, according to a company press release. Known as EGI-M, it was the first time that the system’s architecture had flown equipped with an M-Code receiver. M-Code is the encrypted US Global Positioning System (GPS) Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT) signal. The EGI-M has been developed for aircraft to allow them to fly in areas where GPS PNT signals maybe jammed. The press release continued that EGI-M being considered by the US Department of Defence (DOD) for several aircraft. These platforms include US Navy Northrop Grumman E-2D Hawkeye airborne early warning and control planes. Another candidate named by the company is the US Air Force’s Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor fighter. Northrop Grumman told Armada in a written statement that the recent flight test “helps demonstrate … EGI-M design performance in an environment more representative of end-user characteristics.” Although demurring from providing details on the expected dates for the EGI-M’s introduction, the statement continued that “Northrop Grumman’s EGI-M production delivery schedule meets the current timeline for DOD platform integration.”
by Dr. Thomas Withington