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Deal with Hensoldt expands Leonardo’s stake in Eurofighter radar business

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ROME – Leonardo has won 260 million euros ($296 million) in Eurofighter radar work from Germany’s Hensoldt, meaning the Italian firm now has a major role in all three of the new e-scan radars being built for Typhoon customers.

The deal to work on radar upgrades for Spanish and German aircraft follows the closure of a Jan. 3 of a 606 million euro ($691m) deal which handed Leonardo a 25.1% stake in Hensoldt, a move the firm said would help it achieve leadership in Europe’s defense-electronics market.

The new contracts from Hensoldt cover work on the European Common Radar System Mk1 E-scan radar ordered by Germany and Spain to retrofit roughly 130 Eurofighters in the mid-2020s.

“Leonardo will conduct development work on new wideband capabilities and provide core parts of the new radar’s antenna, APSC (Antenna Power Supply & Control) and its processor,” the firm said in a statement.

Hensoldt is design authority on the radar and has supplied transmit/receive modules built in Germany, while Airbus will integrate the systems.

Leonardo will seek to develop ways to better exploit the German transmit/receive modules to beef up the ECRS Mk1′s detection range and accuracy.

The deal reflects Leonardo’s record on e-scan work in Europe: It is already design authority for the so-called Mk 0 radar ordered for 28 Kuwaiti and 24 Qatari Typhoons, which are built by the Euroradar consortium led by Leonardo UK teamed with Leonardo Italy, Spain’s Indra and Hensoldt.

The German and Spanish Mk 1 is in part based on development work carried out for Mk 0 by Euroradar.

Leonardo is also design authority for the Mk 2 version being developed for RAF Typhoons, which will be a step ahead of the German and Spanish version by offering wideband electronic-attack and electronic-warfare features.

Also new will be the ability to passively register emissions from targets and threats providing data that can be fused with data received by the Typhoon’s Defensive Aid Sub-System (DASS) and Pirate infra-red sensor.

The UK version, which Italy has now signed up to acquire, will also be able to transmit data, while modules will be soldered not screwed in to the face of the antenna, a move engineers believe will improve performance.

Leonardo said its new work with Hensoldt on the Mk 1 would “bolster Germany’s onshore combat air capabilities.”

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