BAE Wins Big PBL Support Contracts for European & Saudi Eurofighters
BAE’s growing expertise with “contracting for availability” performance-based support are netting it important international contracts, as well as British ones.
Britain is already implementing the Typhoon Availability Service (TAS) for its Eurofighter fleet. With 4 of 72 Typhoons delivered to the Royal Saudi Air Force, and flying operations commencing, on Oct 12/09, BAE systems announced a detailed 3-year contract for “The Salam Support Solution.” This is a full availability-based service contract, which also includes Saudi pilot training in the UK and training for RSAF maintenance technicians. The deal’s value was not disclosed, but Saudi support contracts tend to be very large due to the range of contractor services they need.
BAE Systems followed that up by announcing a 5.5 year performance-based contract worth more than GBP 400 million (currently about $654 million), to support the ECR-90 radars and defensive aids sub systems (DASS) on the core partner nations’ Eurofighter fleets. Now, SELEX Galileo is announcing a large sub-contract…
CAPTOR and DASS
The Eurofighter core partner nations include Britain, Germany, Italy, and Spain. BAE Systems has system level design responsibility for the Eurofighter’s Captor radar and DASS ECM(Electronic counter-measures) equipment in the Typhoon’s wing pods and internal bays.
The Typhoon’s ECR-90 CAPTOR is a 3rd generation mechanically scanned multi-mode radar, using coherent X-band (8-12 GHz) pulse doppler. There are reports that CAPTOR has detected fighter sized aircraft at ranges of over 160 km, with the ability to track 20 air targets simultaneously. Scanning speed is reportedly quite fast, allowing interleaving of air-to-air modes with ground-scanning synthetic aperture radar and ground moving target indicator capabilities (SAR/GMTI), but not at the level of modern AESA arrays. A 3rd data channel is reportedly present, used exclusively for screening enemy electronic countermeasures, in order to improve ECM resistance, and performance under combat conditions. The ECR-90 is reportedly highly modular, with 61 Shop Replaceable Items (SRIs) and around 6 Line Replaceable Units (LRUs).
In May 2007, Eurofighter Development Aircraft 5 made the first flight with the follow-on CAPTOR-E/ CAESAR (CAPTOR Active Electronically Scanning Array Radar) demonstrator system, which is expected to replace the ECR-90 via mid-life upgrades, and possibly in Tranche 3B or export aircraft as well.
Though Eurofighter does feature some radar signature shaping, it is not a full stealth aircraft. DASS is an integrated system of aircraft defenses that include laser warning, radar and infrared warning receivers, chaff and flare dispensers, wingtip ESM/ECM pods, and even the towed decoy system. NATO’s Link-16 protocol, embedded in the aircraft’s MIDS-LVT unit, plays an important role in collecting that outside information.
It’s all tied into the aircraft’s Attack and Identification System (AIS) and controlled by a Defensive Aids Computer (DAC), combining information from major on-board sensors, incorporating information from outside platforms such as E-3 AWACS, ASTOR, E-8 JSTARS or even other Eurofighters; and creating an integrated threat picture, allowing a timely combination of manual and automatic defensive responses to try and keep the aircraft safe.
CAPTOR/DASS Maintenance Contracts and Key Events
Nov 16/09: Finmeccanica subsidiary SELEX Galileo announces [PDF] a EUR 350 million (currently GBP 312 million/ $525 million) sub-contract from BAE, related to the GBP 400+ million CAPTOR/DASS support contract.
With SELEX Galileo’s activities, the Finmeccanica share in the Typhoon’s avionics is more than 60%. The Company leads 3 of the related international consortia: EuroDASS, EuroRADAR (CAPTOR) and EuroFIRST (PIRATE IRST), and carries out related development and production at sites in Edinburgh, Luton, Milan, Pomezia and Caselle.
Oct 15/09: The GBP 400+ million Typhoon Radar/DASS support contract is signed. BAE Systems will operate as the prime contractor, while partnering with the Euroradar (EADS Defence Electronics, Indra as INISEL, SELEX Galileo as FIAR and GEC-Marconi) and EuroDASS (EADS Defence Electronics, Elettronica SpA, Indra, SELEX Galileo) international consortia. At one point, BAE has a share in both consortia, but that changed in March 2007 when the Eurosystems transaction with Finmeccanica was wrapped up by the purchase of BAE’s remaining 25% share.
Changed incentives include better rewards for lower rather than higher repair volumes, and for quick turnaround rather than increased hours. Under the new maintenance contract, Finmeccanica subsidiary SELEX Galileo will be the lead representative for the Euroradar and EuroDASS consortia, and they have been working with BAE for the past 18 months to develop a support solution that would be workable from technical, budgetary, and contractor cost/risk standpoints. BAE Systems states that the new contract will demonstrate a 50% saving on the previous repair contracts for the radar and DASS. Eurofighter GmbH | BAE Systems.
- SELEX Galileo – Radars. Includes CAPTOR. See also their CAPTOR-E data sheet [PDF].
- Wikipedia – Euroradar CAPTOR
- Eurofighter unofficial site – Technology and Performance: Sensors
- Eurofighter GmbH – Defensive Aids Sub System (DASS)
- Eurofighter unofficial site – Technology and Performance: Defences
- DID FOCUS – Britain’s Future Contracting for Availability Approach
- DID Spotlight – The 2006 Saudi Shopping Spree: Eurofighter Flies Off With Saudi Contract (updated). Free-to-view.
- DID (Aug 4/09) – Eurofighter’s EUR 9B Multinational Tranche 3A Contract. Includes a table of all Eurofighter orders to date, along with coverage of the partner countries’ most recent Tranche 3A buy.
- DID (July 5/05) – $1.5B for Eurofighter Electronic Warfare Suite