Germany is readying a joint program with Spain that will see its newer Eurofighters equipped with active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars.
The project is currently being negotiated between Germany and the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA), according to the head of combat aircraft systems for Airbus Defence and Space, Kurt Rossner. The hope is for a contract to be inked before the end of the year, or in early 2020. Deliveries of the upgraded aircraft will then proceed from 2022 onward.
The AESA radars – the new E-Scan Mk 1 – will be supplied by a Leonardo-led Euroradar consortium. For Germany, the AESA radars will be retrofitted to 110 of its Tranche 2 and Tranche 3 Eurofighters. Spain plans to initially perform the update on 19 of its fighters.
In parallel with this joint radar upgrade initiative, Germany plans to procure up to 38 of the newest version of the Eurofighter Typhoon to replace its Tranche 1 models under Project Quadriga.
These would come equipped with AESA radars and allow the German Air Force to phase out its older models that began arriving in 2003. The aim is for a Quadriga contract to be reached by early 2020 in order for deliveries to begin around 2024.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The radar retrofit and the procurement of new Eurofighters to replace Tranche 1 aircraft are distinct from Germany’s planned procurement of 60-80 strike aircraft to replace its fleet of Tornado, which are due to be retired by 2025, and for which a new version of Eurofighter is also competing.)