BAE Systems and Airbus are developing a large area display (LAD) system as part of plans for future upgrades to the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft, it was revealed at the DSEI exhibition in London.
Speaking to Jane’s on 13 September, Eurofighter capabilities manager at BAE Systems and former UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon pilot, Paul Smith, said that two separate but linked efforts are currently underway to develop the LAD as part of a potential future capability upgrade for the fighter.
“[BAE Systems] is putting together a cockpit demonstration rig for the LAD on the Typhoon. Airbus is developing a similar concept also. We have the same ideas and are sharing information,” Smith said, adding that any final solution will likely bring together the work of both teams.
As Smith noted, the LAD being developed would replace the Typhoon’s current three-multifunction display (MFD) cockpit configuration with a single unit that would massively aid with the sensor fusion required for the new active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar being integrated onto the aircraft. “The AESA is driving a lot of this [LAD concept work], due to the extra data [that will be available to the pilot],” he explained. In the new cockpit configuration being developed by BAE Systems, the LAD would likely be augmented by company’s HUDLite and Striker II helmet-mounted display (HMD) system.
Currently, the development work is being driven by industry, although Smith said that some of the Typhoon’s newer customers and those being courted for future sales are interested in the concept. Reaction from the partner nations has been more mixed, he said, with some questioning the need for such a major hardware retrofit when HMDs such as the Striker II will provide much of the same capabilities in a plug-and-play solution.
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