At the International Fighter Conference in Berlin, Airbus and its partners unveiled details of the new Eurofighter ‘Electronic Combat Role’ (ECR) concept.

The firm says that this role will enlarge Eurofighter’s multi-role capabilities and further increase the survivability of coalition forces in hostile environments.

“Collaborative electronic warfare capabilities are essential for future combined air operations”, say the company in a release.

Initial Eurofighter ECR capability is expected to be available by 2026, followed by further development steps and full integration into the future combat air system (FCAS) ecosystems.

“Eurofighter ECR will be able to provide passive emitter location as well as active jamming of threats, and will offer a variety of modular configurations for electronic attack (EA) and suppression/destruction of enemy air defence (SEAD/DEAD).

Latest national escort jammer technology will ensure national control over features such as mission data and data analysis. The concept also features a new twin-seat cockpit configuration with a multi-function panoramic touch display and a dedicated mission cockpit for the rear-seat.”

Airbus say that the concept is driven by the leading aerospace companies Airbus, Hensoldt, MBDA, MTU, Premium Aerotec, Rolls-Royce and supported by the German national industry bodies BDSV and BDLI. It specifically targets the German Air Force requirements for an airborne electronic attack capability.

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Corin Vestey
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Corin Vestey

This is excellent news but 2026 for Initial capability? I love the Typhoon and would love to see the UK have these capabilities but development has been so slow.

Joe16
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Joe16

It does seem slow, but my understanding is that electronic warfare is actually really tricky to integrate (and may also utilise the AESA radar and other electgronic systems that are also in development); You have to make sure that all the very sensitive sensors will not be affected or influenced by any of the thousands of electronic systems on board the aircraft and just generally around in the airspace. Plus, any form of electronic attack that you make the aircraft capable of cannot damage the aircraft’s own sensors or those of friendly aircraft and systems nearby. Putting together pods that… Read more »

Corin Vestey
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Corin Vestey

Yup, all good points. I just feel as if Typhoon is continually five years behind where it ought to be! As long as the system gets there, that’s the main thing I suppose.

Joe16
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Joe16

Well, I most certainly agree with you there! It does seem exactly that. I think, at least more recently, that this is a case of slow approval/initiation of development initiatives, rather than the speed of the implementation of the development itself. Also, potentially, US companies are often building from a position that they already possess a level of expertise and knowledge, whereas the European consortiums are having to start closer to the beginning with Typhoon. The Growler models of the Hornet have the electronic warfare tech and development of the Hawkeye and (if I recall) Intruder aircraft to build upon,… Read more »

Stephen
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Stephen

Makes perfect sense, we need something akin to a Growler in our arsenal. F-35 density is simply to low to expect them to fill every role, especially one as specialised as SEAD/DEAD

Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins
TwinTiger
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TwinTiger

Also getting this new Typhoon certified for the B61 nuclear bomb will also satisfy the German requirements under its NATO commitments as the replacement for its Tornado fleet.

Ian Skinner
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Ian Skinner

The Germans have dedicated ECR tornados, so this makes perfect sense for them.

WatcherZero
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WatcherZero

That’s why this has come about, the Germans have modified their Tornado replacement tender (which had just been whittled down to Eurofighter and Growler) to add a requirement for ECR. Side issue is adding a new requirement may require them to open up to new/previously eliminated bids.

DaveyB
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DaveyB

It’s a shame all our twin-seater Typhoons were Tranche 1s. It means that they are either too difficult or really expensive to modify to Tranche 3/4 standard. These aircraft would have been ideal candidates to make in to a electronic combat and reconnaissance (ECR) aircraft (the original and German term for ECR).

Nigel Collins
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Nigel Collins
Rudeboy
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Rudeboy

Ordering either of those now would not mean delivery before 2026. And having another type in service? Costs would be ludicrous. If we’re ever going to get an ECR capability it would be Typhoon. It would also keep the Typhoon UK assembly line open longer.

But either way we’re not going to…

Jonathan
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Jonathan

From an RAF point of view will the F35b cover this capability?

Rudeboy
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Rudeboy

Yes and No. The UK will have greater capability in F-35B and T3 Typhoon equipped with Captor-E Radar 2 compared to standard Typhoon, Rafale or Gripen. It will also have the Spear EW as a stand in jammer. But thats not the same as a stand off or escort jammer which is what is being proposed.

The Germans need it more due to their force mixture, but thats not to say the UK couldn’t do with it.

Jonathan
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Jonathan

Cheers

Paul42
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Paul42

The USMC are already developing wing mounted pods along very similar lines to the EA18G for use on the F35B.to give them an Electronic warfare capability that can operate from the Wasp Class

dan
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dan

Nice to see other nations getting onboard the SEAD/DEAD/EA bandwagon. Better later than never. lol

Jason Holmes
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Jason Holmes

We won’t buy this, will be purely for the Tornado ECR replacement. We never fully utilise equipment we buy.

turk
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turk

some very informative posts on here great site, sorry I’m just going to say Typhoon in that darker grey looks the absolute nuts.