Leonardo’s Airborne and Space Systems division has been contracted by Romania’s National Institute for Aerospace Research ‘Elie Carafoli’ (INCAS) to supply its Vixen 500E active electronically scanned array radar for Romania’s IAR-99 trainer Technology Demonstrator (TD) project.
Evolved from the existing IAR-99 Soim trainer, the IAR-99 TD is intended to flight test and prove key technologies for a next-generation trainer aircraft.
The demonstrator airframe − based on IAR-99 Soim prototype no. 7003 − is being modified by INCAS in conjunction with Avioane Craiova, with the aircraft expected to be ready for testing by the end of 2017.
Featuring a 500-element fixed-plate AESA array, Vixen 500E is the most compact member of Leonardo’s Vixen family of X-band multimode AESA fire control radar systems.
The contract with INCAS follows Leonardo’s recent provision of the same Vixen 500E radar to the US Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland, where students will use the radar while training on board the school’s C-26 aircraft. Leonardo has also sold the Vixen 500E to the US Department of Homeland Security.
Leonardo (Stand S5-110) is hopeful that the relationship forged with INCAS on the IAR-99 TD programme will over time translate to follow-on Vixen 500E orders for the retrofit of Romania’s fleet of IAR-99s as part of a wider upgrade programme. The company has previously supplied INCAS with a Seaspray 5000E AESA surveillance radar for integration on a BN-2 Islander special mission aircraft.