The new "repositionable" electronically scanned radar being proposed for the Eurofighter could make the difference for the fighter in export markets, its designers claim.
The Eurofighter currently flies with the mechanically scanned Captor radar, but the consortium that built the Captor is now pitching an e-scan radar, known as Caesar, to the U.K., Italy, Spain and Germany for its third tranche Eurofighters.
Unlike most e-scans, where radar radiating elements are placed on a fixed panel, the proposed solution for the Eurofighter will rotate.
"We believe the repositionable antenna is the way ahead and this will be approved by the Eurofighter partners," said Bob Mason, marketing and sales vice president for radar and advanced targeting at Selex Galileo. "It will be a differentiator in the export market place when competing against French and U.S. competitors which feature only fixed antennae."
Selex Galileo, EADS and Indra form the Euroradar consortium.
Fixed array e-scans rely on their multiple radiating elements to shift the direction of the radar beam. The Euroradar proposal undertakes beam shifting in the same way, but is set at an angle to the flight path and sits on a revolving gimbal, enlarging the area the beam can cover when it turns.
Officials said at the Paris Air Show this year that the function increases the angle of coverage from about 70 degrees to left or right to over 100 degrees, effectively allowing the radar to see "behind" the aircraft, useful for tracking weapons after delivery.
Mason said the e-scan radar offer to Eurofighter partners had evolved since work on the radar started.
"The Euroradar proposal was initially for a fixed antenna AESA radar with growth to a repositionable antenna," he said.
Mason rebuffed statements by U.S. radar makers that moving dishes dramatically increase maintenance.
"We say that the increase in both air to air and air to ground capability far outweighs any minimal increase in maintenance," he said.
"We would like to get at least a view of a common requirement by year end (from Eurofighter partners). Everyone recognizes the need for AESA radar for export campaigns like India," he said.
"If we get a requirement by year end we can have the radar ready for Tranche 3 Eurofighters but it will be very tight."