Airbus to make Eurofighter fit for electronic combat
Now it’s official: The Eurofighter EK (Electronic Combat) is coming. Following the recent parliamentary approval by the German budget committee, Airbus will equip 15 German Eurofighters for electronic combat – and equip them with a transmitter location and self-protection system from Saab, as well as “AARGM” anti-radar missiles from the American company Northrop Grumman. The Eurofighter EK is to be NATO-certified by 2030 and will then replace the Tornado in the SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defence) role.
“Electronic warfare and reconnaissance are an important NATO requirement: current conflicts and the present security situation show how important the two capabilities are,” says Airbus Defence and Space CEO Michael Schöllhorn. “In this respect, the German government’s decision to include such an important capability as electronic warfare in the Eurofighter capability portfolio is an important measure. EK will add this important capability to the already broad operational spectrum of the Eurofighter while strengthening European sovereignty and autonomy.”
With the parliamentary approval by the Budget Committee, the Eurofighter is now officially set as the successor to the Tornado ECR (Electronic Combat/Reconnaissance). Airbus is now looking forward to the official order to integrate the selected technical solutions into the Eurofighter. The corresponding contract between Eurofighter GmbH, as prime contractor, and NETMA (NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency) is expected to be signed before the end of the year.
With Saab’s transmitter location system and the Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) from Northrop Grumman, the Eurofighter EK will be able to detect, localise and disable anti-aircraft radars. In addition, the Saab solution has jammers that improve the Eurofighter’s self-protection. The Eurofighter EK also has technologies on board that were developed by small and medium-sized enterprises and a start-up. These include an AI solution that makes it possible to analyse radar data on-board and quickly determine precise self-protection measures.
Airbus is currently working with the BAAINBw procurement office, the German Air Force and the Bundeswehr Aviation Office on a detailed schedule for the implementation of the selected EK solutions in 15 Eurofighters.