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Airbus proposes ECR/SEAD Eurofighter, emphasises German requirement

Airbus Defence and Space (DS) has showcased a new electronic attack and counter-ground-based air defence variant of the Eurofighter combat aircraft as it looks to secure Germany’s Tornado replacement requirement.

Seen in front of a Eurofighter, the AARGM anti-radiation missile could be integrated onto an ECR/SEAD-equipped aircraft for the Luftwaffe should the consortium secure the Tornado replacement requirement. While the AARGM was not shown in an Airbus briefing on the planned configuration, its high-speed and long range would make it critical to any SEAD mission in a heavily-contested environment. (IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings)

Seen in front of a Eurofighter, the AARGM anti-radiation missile could be integrated onto an ECR/SEAD-equipped aircraft for the Luftwaffe should the consortium secure the Tornado replacement requirement. While the AARGM was not shown in an Airbus briefing on the planned configuration, its high-speed and long range would make it critical to any SEAD mission in a heavily-contested environment. (IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings)

Speaking at the company’s Manching facility in southern Germany on 5 November, Kurt Rossner, head of Air Combat, provided the first insight into Airbus DS plans for an Electronic Combat Reconnaissance (ECR)/Suppression of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD) version of the Eurofighter to replace the Luftwaffe’s Tornado ECR aircraft. This Tornado ECR replacement covers 40 aircraft as part of the wider Tornado IDR/ECR replacement programme for 85 aircraft.

As noted by Rossner, the ECR/SEAD configuration is a collaborative German industrial effort and forms part of the key technology roadmap for the aircraft. An ECR/SEAD Eurofighter offers the possibility of combining the escort and stand-in jammer platforms of any strike package, with an initial capability to be gained through podded systems before a more integrated solution is developed.

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