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A400M stand-off jammer concept breaks cover

Screengrab from an Airbus video shown at the AOC Europe 2023 conference in Bonn, Germany, showing a Luftwaffe A400M aircraft in a stand-off jammer configuration for the luWES airborne electronic attack requirement. (Richard Scott)

Airbus Defence and Space has revealed a stand-off jammer (SOJ) adaptation of its A400M Atlas airlifter as a potential solution for Germany's Luftgestätze Wirkung im Elektromagnetischen Spektrum (luWES) programme.

Showcased for the first time at the AOC Europe 2023 conference and exhibition in Bonn, Germany, from 15 to 17 May, the A400M SOJ concept would form part of a wider luWES ‘system of systems', able to deliver co-ordinated and synchronised suppression of enemy air defences (SEAD) across a broad frequency spectrum. Airbus has undertaken pre-feasibility study work together with other members of a German industry ‘interest group' dubbed the Ruder Acht (Rowing Eight) to outline a notional A400M SOJ configuration.

As part of the overarching luWES architecture, high-power SOJ would be used to disrupt and degrade low-band early warning radars and communications networks in order to enable a strike package to penetrate the outer screen of an integrated air-defence system. The SOJ platform may also perform an electronic warfare command-and-control role.

“I would call [the A400M] our baseline assumption as the SOJ platform for luWES,” Dietmar Thelen, Airbus head of electronic warfare military air systems, told Janes. “It has the advantage that it uses an airframe that is already in the Luftwaffe fleet. But we will also look at alternatives like business jets and multimission aircraft.”

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