A project come true
After discussions and announcements of partnerships with several aeronautical companies, the Eurofighter EK has just taken a big step! After confirming the budget in the Bundestag, Airbus confirmed in a Press release this November 29th that the Eurofighter EK will in fact be developed for the needs of the Luftwaffe. This budget confirmation actually confirms that the Eurofighter EK will in fact replace the Tornado ECR within the Luftwaffe.
“Electronic warfare and reconnaissance are an important NATO requirement: current conflicts and the current security situation show how important these two capabilities are (…) In this sense, the German government’s decision to include such an important capability as electronic warfare in the Eurofighter capabilities portfolio is an important step. EK will add this important capability to the Eurofighter’s already broad operational spectrum, while strengthening European sovereignty and autonomy.“Michael Schöllhorn, CEO of Airbus Defense and Space.
Airbus is currently working with BAAINBw, the Luftwaffe and the Bundeswehr Aviation Office to establish a timeline for the conversion of 15 Eurofighters. However, a date is already known: by 2030, the Eurofighter EK must be certified for NATO operations. Last institutional obstacle: signing the contract. Specifically, it will be signed between Eurofighter GmbH (program manager) and NETMA (NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency) by the end of this year.
In terms of capacity, Saab had already announced on 16 June 2023 the selection of its Araxis electronic warfare suite for the Eurofighter EK. The Swedish company was already known in this area, with the latter also being responsible for the electronic warfare systems of the Luftwaffe’s Tornado ECR since 1999. The offensive capability is also known: Northrop Grumman will supply its AGM -88E AARGM anti-radar missile.
As shown in the cover image of the article, the Eurofighter EK will also be capable of carrying IRIS-T air-to-air missiles (short and medium range, infrared guidance) or the Meteor air-to-air missile (long range, active radar guidance). However, in the full SEAD configuration, we should expect a device that will be able to detect and jam radars, that will have a self-protection suite to deal with threats from radar or infrared-guided missiles, but also onboard artificial intelligence to facilitate the analysis of the data collected by sensors and of course, an offensive capability, with the AARGM.