BAE Systems has been awarded a £72m contract by the Ministry of Defence to test and help develop a next-generation radar system for the Royal Air Force’s fleet of Eurofighter Typhoons.
The three-year contract, named the E-Scan Extended Assessment Phase (EAP) will look specifically at the UK’s capability requirements for an E-Scan radar.
The EAP will consist of several projects - including a Typhoon flight test of a prototype UK E-Scan radar and ground testing at BAE System’s electronic warfare test facility at Warton, near Preston.
Bosses said today that the latest radar equipment would enhance the marketability of the Typhoon and help safeguard Lancashire jobs.
The new comes as the Farnborough Air Show gets into full flight, with BAE Systems’ showpiece Typhoon fighter jet on show.
A Typhoon carrying the new E-Scan radar flew into Farnborough to mark the announcement of the MOD deal.
The American F-35 stealth fighter, parts of which are built in Lancashire, failed to make its much-anticipated UK appearance after engine problems in the United States, even though it was cleared to fly on Tuesday.
The radar contract is part of extra defence spending cash announced this week by Prime Minister David Cameron. He said he wanted the RAF to have the best equipment available to protect British interests.
Nigel Whitehead, BAE Systems Group Managing Director said: “The EAP contract represents a significant step in the UK MOD’s commitment to the wider E-Scan programme. Having the ability to demonstrate the full potential of an E-Scan radar on the aircraft will also assist us in showcasing the full capability of the Typhoon to potential customers.”
BAE Systems’ chief test pilot Mark Bowman said the new E-scan radar would ensure greater safety and could give the aircraft more range and better performance.
Although the current M-scan system was more than adequate, the enhanced features of the E-Scan would make take it to a different level.
*For more on the Farnborough air show, see Tuesday’s business supplement.