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ILA 2024: Germany launches FCAS STAR demonstrator programme

Rohde & Schwarz multipoint network capability, which forms part of its Hybrid Communications product suite, is one of the solutions being pitched for the STAR Eurofighter demonstrator. (Janes/Andrew White)

The German Air Force launched the STAR (System and Teaming Advanced Research) demonstrator programme at ILA Berlin Air Show 2024 to support integration and demonstration of Future Combat Air System (FCAS) capabilities.

Launched in co-operation with FCAS consortium members Airbus and MBDA as well as Diehl Aerospace, Diehl Defence, Elektroniksystem-und Logistik-GmbH (ESG), Hensoldt, and Rohde & Schwarz (R&S), the programme will involve the development of a two-seat STAR demonstrator Eurofighter to “ensure technologies are ready for use quickly [in support of FCAS]”, according to a joint statement released by the companies on 7 June.

The STAR Eurofighter will feature a modified rear cockpit and modular avionics communication pod designed to create “the interplay of piloted and unpiloted elements [which] should be demonstrated, finished, and operational by the end of the 2020s”, the statement said.

Additional areas of interest expected to be covered in the study include sensor technology, networked weapons, and electronic warfare, the statement added.

Effective communications will be central to FCAS. At the airshow, R&S publicly showcased its Hybrid Communications product suite for the first time including its point to multipoint network capability designed to significantly enhance data throughput of aircraft.

A final decision regarding the solution's integration onboard the STAR demonstrator has yet to be confirmed but industry sources informed Janes that this is highly likely given the company's position as communications provider within the German Future Combat Mission System (FCMS) consortium.

An R&S spokesperson confirmed to Janes

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