Designed to meet the requirements of Typhoon operators, the upgrades are being proposed for the Eurofighter four-nation Phase 4 Enhancement (P4E) package and will also be available for export customers.
The latest upgrade will increase the survivability of the aircraft and lays the foundation for the defence system’s integration with Typhoon’s highly capable E-scan radars. This includes all versions of the Typhoon E-scan radar comprising that already in service as well as variants currently under development by the Eurofighter partner nations.
The existing DASS, named Praetorian after the elite Roman bodyguard corps, protects Typhoon from threats including Infra-Red (IR/heat-seeking) and radar-guided missiles. The system’s integrated sensors and jamming equipment deliver situational awareness to the pilot and equip the aircraft with a digital stealth capability, achieved through advanced electronic deception techniques.
This latest phase will see the EuroDASS partners integrate a number of new capabilities, already at advanced stages of development, into the Praetorian system. This includes a digital receiver capability, which will allow Typhoon to better recognise modern and complex targets and their modes of operation, enabling it to deploy the appropriate countermeasures. The upgrade also incorporates a band extension allowing Typhoon to continue to operate in the increasingly complex, congested and contested electromagnetic battlespace of the future.
The upgrade will also include enhancements to signal processing algorithms and processor capabilities, delivering major advances in processing speed, capability and memory. This will allow the Praetorian system to make the most of its integration with Typhoon’s E-scan radar options, including the new ECRS Mk2 currently being developed for the UK Armed Forces. The newest radar options incorporate a powerful electronic attack capability and will complement the on-board jamming provided by the Praetorian system to deliver a formidable overall effect.
Leonardo is integrating the Praetorian system in Luton, where the company conducts advanced electronic warfare research, development and production. Development of the digital receiver capability has been led by German partner Hensoldt and the band extension work has been driven by Spanish partner Indra. Further ECM and WTP Cooler enhancements will be led by ELT Group.
At the 2023 Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) in Fairford, UK, Leonardo will be showcasing the new capabilities on-board a Navajo test aircraft operated by its test and evaluation partner 2Excel.
Because the individual capabilities introduced under this upgrade are already mature following international investment, first flight trials employing the 2Excel Navajo equipped with the upgraded Typhoon hardware will take place soon after RIAT. Further trials on-board Typhoon aircraft are scheduled for early 2024.
Looking beyond this upgrade, the EuroDASS partners are also making progress on Praetorian eVolution, the proposed roadmap for the Typhoon’s future DASS that will ensure the aircraft retains its world-class level of protection for decades to come. The roadmap proposes advanced new capabilities including multi-platform electronic warfare and combat ISR functions such as high-precision targeting and advanced combat ID. Discussions amongst the four Typhoon partner nations (UK, Italy, Germany and Spain) continue to move forward, with all parties recognising the benefits of Praetorian eVolution in terms of future survivability, maintaining each nations’ onshore combat air skills base and ensuring future freedom of operation for Typhoon operators in an evolving threat landscape.