EuroDASS unveils plan for new Typhoon DASS/EW suite

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Richard Scott, London


The four-country EuroDASS consortium - UK's Leonardo, Italy's Elettronica, Germany's Hensoldt, and Spain's Indra - has outlined its vision of a next-generation electronic warfare (EW) suite for the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft.

Known as Praetorian Evolution, the future Defensive Aids Subsystem (DASS) builds on the Typhoon's existing Praetorian DASS but introduces a new all-digital architecture and expands electronic warfare (EW) functionality beyond platform self-protection. EuroDASS has developed its roadmap independent of the Praetorian Long Term Evolution (LTE) study activity awarded earlier this year, although Praetorian Evolution work is expected to inform LTE outputs.

The Praetorian DASS provides the Typhoon with threat detection, evaluation, and countermeasures against air-to-air and surface-to-air threats using radio frequency (RF) and infrared guidance. The system includes electronic support measures, an active missile approach warner, electronic countermeasures, towed decoys, and initiation of chaff/flares.

However, the existing Praetorian DASS was defined in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and its architecture now imposes constraints on further development with regard to further expansion, capability insertion, and long-term sustainability. Details of Praetorian Evolution were given to military and industry stakeholders at a EuroDASS Future Capability user conference in London on 9 October.

According to Phil Liddiard, Leonardo's vice-president combat air, work to define a future DASS architecture has been driven by new and more complex threats, the requirement to embody additional capabilities such as combat intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), and a desire to develop a 'futureproofed' software-based system architecture that is easier to maintain and upgrade. "As a consortium, we've been looking for the last three years at various solutions," Liddiard told Jane's . "That work pre-dates the LTE as we recognised the need some time ago to get a head start on working up what we thought was the best option."


Praetorian integrates the electronic support measures, electronic countermeasures, missile warning system and towed radar decoy on Typhoon to carry out this role, and while the consortium has praised the DASS that has been in service for some 20 years, EuroDASS notes that future operational scenarios in which the fighter is likely to be involved will include facing expanded air defense systems, so the Praetorian has to evolve to be able to counter them.

This planned development of the system follows the launch of the so-called Praetorian Long-Term Evolution (LTE) study earlier this year, which EuroDASS says will be rolled into the Praetorian Evolution’s roadmap to provide technical and growth options for the system. It was announced in September that BAE Systems had awarded Leonardo, on behalf of the EuroDASS consortium, an 18-month contract to work on the Praetorian LTE, developing concepts for potential upgrades for the DASS.

This Praetorian study is part of a broader LTE effort that Eurofighter is carrying out for Typhoon, which is exploring the necessary technology enhancements for the aircraft’s weapons and propulsion systems to ensure that the fighter is future-proofed for the expected emerging requirements it will have to contend with throughout its remaining operational life.
 

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