Airbus Military and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) are combining forces to jointly develop and market a new version of the Airbus Military C295 platform fitted with an Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) system produced by ELTA Systems, a wholly owned IAI subsidiary.
The primary sensor of the AEW&C will be the IAI/ELTA 4th Generation Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar with integrated IFF. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to this effect was signed yesterday at the Le Bourget Airshow by IAI Corp. VP and ELTA President, Nissim Hadas, and Airbus Military CE Domingo Ureña.
With this agreement, Airbus Military will expand its mission capability to the AEW&C sector, while ELTA will be expanding its AEW&C fleet to include a turboprop platform, the companies say in a joint media statement.
The C295 AEW&C has been designed to provide high quality 360° Surveillance, creating in real-time an integrated Air and Maritime Situation Picture and Electronic Order of Battle. The AEW&C Situation Picture is shared with friendly forces via Network Centric data links.
A C295 fitted with a rotodome demonstrator has been conducting flight trials from Airbus Military’s Seville facility since June 8. The initial tests have shown that the aircraft is aerodynamically an excellent platform for this purpose. ELTA Systems and Airbus Military are now conducting engineering studies to integrate the mission suite, including AESA radar, among other sensors, into the aircraft. The aircraft demonstrator can be seen on the static display at the Le Bourget Airshow.
Airbus Military says the new platform provides “a new and very cost effective solution in the so far uncovered medium size market.” It can be configured with the full range of AEW&C sensor and control systems, including; AEW Radar, IFF, ESM/ELINT, CSM/COMINT, self protection suite (SPS), command & control, multi-mode radar, comprehensive communication suite including network centric operation (NCO) data networks and satellite links.
“We see a growing demand emerging for medium size early warning systems and platforms at an affordable price for both air defense and homeland security,” Ureña said. “This cooperation between ELTA Systems and Airbus Military, which combines the excellent engineering skills and experience of our two companies in their respective fields, will provide the market with a highly efficient and affordable solution, the first in this market segment”.
IAI/ELTA is a front-runner in the development of airborne radar systems and in particular AESA Radar for AEW&C aircraft. IAI/ELTA’s current 3rd Generation AEW&C products, the Gulfstream G550 Conformal AEW&C and the Ilyushin IL-76 AWACS, are the leaders in their respective categories, both in terms of performance and landmark design. The newest member of IAI/ELTA’s family of AESA Radars is a rotating dome radar combining both true 360° AESA radar and IFF in what is said to be a unique low weight design.