Leonardo UK has demonstrated a new radar receiver, warner technology as part of its development work for the Tempest project, the future combat jet project in which the UK, Italy and Sweden are working together.
In a laboratory demonstration for the UK MoD and other Team Tempest partners, the new sensor demonstrated a direction finding performance of four times what is possible with typical radar warning receiver while being just 1/10th the size of a standard system.
The ambitious timescale for the Tempest project is towards seeing a new aircraft in-service with the RAF in 2035.
The radar warning technology is used to sense the radio frequency (RF) signals emitted by potentially hostile radars and then use this information for a variety of uses, including warning an operator that an enemy is trying to ‘lock on’ to their aircraft.
Such sensors can also support tasks such as intelligence gathering and combat identification. In future, threat radars are likely to use a range of technologies and software techniques to make it harder to identify their signals, meaning that Tempest’s sensors will need to be sophisticated enough to be able to counter such techniques and flexible enough to be updated in response to new technologies as they emerge on the battlefield.
The reduced size and weight of Leonardo’s new receiver technology, as well as reduced power requirements, means that it will be possible to integrate the sensor into a multi-function array. This concept, one of a number of innovative ideas being considered for Tempest, could see a number of multi-purpose sensors spread around the aircraft, simultaneously sensing and tracking enemy aircraft, incoming missiles and other threats from all directions, while being fully integrated with a forward-facing radar.