PARIS --- The industry consortium developing the new AESA radar for the Eurofighter is due to submit its offer for the production and retrofit of the Captor-E radar by the end of the month.
The offer will be submitted to the NETMA, the program’s executive agency, and could be followed by a production order as early as mid-2019, according to the German defense ministry’s autumn report on armaments programs, released Dec. 7. NETMA – the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency – manages the two programs on behalf of the UK, Germany, Spain and Italian governments.
The Captor-E consortium is developing the AESA radar under a €1 billion contract awarded on Nov. 19, 2014, to Eurofighter Jadgflugzeug GmbH by NETMA, and completed hardware development in June, the report states.
No production decision has yet been taken for the four partner countries, but as the Eurofighters to be delivered to Kuwait in late 2020 are to be the first with the AESA radar, initial production radars must be delivered in 2019.
However, there have been delays in complex software development due to resource constraints, and their effects are being examined so the necessary mitigation steps can be worked out, the report adds.
This means that the target date for retrofit of the Captor-E radar in German Eurofighters, while h aving been delayed to 2022, can nevertheless be realized.
Updates to the Eurofighter program, including obsolescence elimination, development of the EURODASS, role adaptation, and integration of the METEOR missile) have added €585 million over the initial estimate, according to the report, while the AESA radar has added €78 million to Germany’s costs.
In order to cover the needs of the four nations, the radar’s development included a multi-channel receiver (MCR), and in September 2017 industry was asked to submit a related offer by the end of 2018.
In the meantime, “The consequences of industry-indicated delays in the ongoing development of the AESA radar and the mitigation measures proposed by the industry must be thoroughly analyzed and critically assessed,” the report adds.
The future of the program is complicated by the fact that, while Germany is complementing the ongoing development with a multi-channel receiver, the United Kingdom, on the other hand, continues to demand a new radar development which focuses on the application for electronic warfare.
“In terms of armament policy, key technologies in the field of reconnaissance sensors use German-developed and secured systems, the availability of which is of substantial security interest for the Federal Republic of Germany,” according to the report. “The shares in the development and manufacturing program of the AESA radar contribute to maintain national engineering and manufacturing capacity in this segment.”