The UK Ministry of Defense has awarded BAE Systems and Leonardo UK a $1.1 billion contract to finalize the development of an active electronically scanned array radar for the Royal Air Force’s Typhoon combat jets. The deal is part of a larger £2.35 billion investment plan initiated in 2022 to upgrade various technologies on the RAF jets, with the goal of having the upgraded aircraft in service by 2030.
- The funding from the UK Ministry of Defense covers design, development, demonstration, and qualification of the European Common Radar System Mk2 radar. It will equip the British Typhoon batch 3 fighters and is expected to be ready for integration into aircraft within five years.
- The new ECRS Mk2 kit will be installed on approximately 40 RAF Typhoon tranche 3 aircraft. The radar could also potentially be installed on batch 2 aircraft if additional funds become available.
- The radar may also be offered to other nations that operate the aircraft, with Saudi Arabia, the Typhoon’s largest export customer, being the most likely option.
- The new radar is considered the most significant element of upgrades aimed at keeping the Typhoon current until at least 2040. It is also seen as a stepping stone towards new capabilities for the envisioned sixth-generation Global Combat Air Program.
- A prototype of the Leonardo Mk2 radar was delivered to BAE’s Warton combat air site in northern England earlier this year for integration on a British Typhoon. Initial flight testing is scheduled to start next year.