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Bundestag approves Eurofighter EK

Displayed as a mock-up at the ILA Berlin Air Show in 2022, the Eurofighter EK has now been approved by the Bundestag. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

The German Bundestag has approved development of the Eurofighter Elektronischer Kampf (EK) electronic warfare (EW) aircraft for the Luftwaffe.

The Luftwaffe and Airbus (Germany's lead contractor in the Eurofighter consortium) announced the budgetary committee approval on 29 November, saying 15 aircraft will be upgraded for electronic attack (EA) and suppression/destruction of enemy air defence (SEAD/DEAD) roles.

“[The] green light from parliament: 15 Eurofighters will be upgraded with the latest electromagnetic reconnaissance technology,” the Chief of the Luftwaffe, Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz, said, with Airbus adding, “Now it's official: The Eurofighter EK is coming.”

With this approval, Airbus will now begin the work of integrating the Saab Arexis EW suite and Northrop Grumman AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) on 15 of the Luftwaffe's existing fleet of Eurofighters (neither the Luftwaffe nor Airbus has disclosed which standard of jet will be upgraded, although Airbus has previously said that it could be some of the 70 Tranche 2 and 31 Tranche 3 jets now in service, or the 38 Tranche 4 Project Quadriga jets to soon be delivered).

To be used as an emitter locator system (ELS) to identify and locate ground-based radar sites, the Arexis suite will be fully integrated into the aircraft, and housed in the same wingtip pylons as fitted to the Saab Gripen E/F combat aircraft. Airbus told Janes that the aircraft's 27 mm cannon will be retained, rather than being removed to create additional space for further EW equipment. An artificial intelligence (AI) solution that makes it possible to analyse radar data onboard and quickly determine self-protection measures will also be fitted.

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