First Eurofighter Equipped with Galileo Avionica PIRATE IRST Delivered to the Italian Air Force
(Source: Galileo Avionica; issued Aug. 1, 2007)
An Italian Air Force two-seat Eurofighter is the first to be fitted with the Pirate passive sensor, which combines IRST and FLIR capabilities. (Galileo Avionica photo)
ROME --- The first Eurofighter Typhoon with on board the radar PIRATE- IRST designed and produced by Galileo Avionica, a Finmeccanica company, was delivered to the Italian Aeronautica Militare.

The aircraft is part of the Tranche 1 batch 5 of the international Eurofighter programme and is operational at the Grosseto base, in Tuscany.

The PIRATE performs the same tasks of a radar, working in a passive mode, without electromagnetic radiations, detecting instead the heat of the different targets. A very important feature that increases the overall performances of a combat aircraft, offering the tactical superiority of a complete operability in Stealth (technologies allowing the aircraft to be undetectable).

Leveraging state-of-the-art technologies, the PIRATE (Passive Infra-Red Airborne Tracking Equipment) combines the functionalities of an IRST and the ones of a FLIR (Forward Looking Infra-Red). The PIRATE is compact enough to install the electronics inside the aircraft, while the searching head of the sensor emerges on the left nose in front of the windshield.

Galileo Avionica is prime contractor of the EuroFirst Consortium which features Thales in the UK and Tecnobit in Spain. In 2006, the consortium was awarded with a contract to supply 200 PIRATE systems for the Tranche 2 of the Eurofighter in the various nations involved.

The value for Galileo Avionica of the programme, which includes Tranche 2 and Tranche 1, is around 200 million euros.

Combining its experience and leadership in electro-optical and firing systems, with the knowledge acquired in the development of the PIRATE, Galileo Avionica has developed a commercial version of the PIRATE, named IRST-C for other fighters requiring the same technologies for passive tracking of the targets.

Galileo Avionica has also developed a Naval version of the IRST which is the SASS (Silent Acquisition Surveillance System) installed for a session of trials on board the EURO Frigate and which will equip the [aircraft carrier] of the Italian Navy, Cavour. SASS has also been selected for the Italian frigates in the frame of the Franco Italian programme FREMM.

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