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BAE Systems gets slice of £2.3bn Typhoon jet radar contract

·2-min read
typhoon fighter jet
typhoon fighter jet

BAE Systems, the UK’s biggest defence contractor, and Italian rival Leonardo will spearhead a £2.35bn upgrade to the UK’s Typhoon jet fighter fleet.

The new contract will involve updating the planes’ radar system and its ability to conduct electronic warfare, including monitoring targets and the ability to jam enemy signals. The deal keeps 1,300 jobs open on the programme.

The first 40 jets to be upgraded will be among the newest and they will be fitted with the new equipment by the end of the decade, the Ministry of Defence announced.

Leonardo, which has UK bases at Luton and Edinburgh, makes the radar, known as the European Common Radar System (ECRS) Mk 2, and BAE will fit them at its Warton factory in Lancashire, where the aircraft are assembled.

Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin said: “It’s vital the UK remains at the forefront of military capabilities to be able to deter and defend.

“These technological enhancements will maintain the cutting-edge capabilities of Eurofighter Typhoon and help underpin the development path towards the Future Combat Air System,” he added, referring to the next generation of fighter jet which is still under development.

The MoD did not supply a cost breakdown of the contract.

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, said: “The ECRS Mk2 radar is a transformational upgrade for our Typhoon aircraft, and a step change in capability. It will ensure Typhoon is ready and able to protect our skies into the future, in the face of fast-evolving threats to the UK and our allies.”

Typhoons are still being built for Middle Eastern customers including Qatar, which ordered 24 of them in 2017 for £6bn.

They are built by a consortium including BAE, Leonardo and Germany and Spain’s Airbus, and they entered service with the Royal Air Force in 2007 to replace the Tornado fleet.

BAE, Leonardo and Sweden’s Saab are exploring Typhoon’s replacement, dubbed Tempest, which will be capable of flying without a pilot and will operate with swarms of drones in order to collect data and intelligence.