The French defence procurement agency (DGA) has renewed its confidence in Thales by awarding a €85 M contract to develop a second demonstrator for the RBE2 electronic scanning radar with active array antenna for the Rafale combat aircraft. This new contract will demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of equipping the aircraft’s electronic scanning radar with an active array antenna based on European technology. It also covers risk assessment associated with radar integration (thermal, mechanical and electrical environment) and in-flight operational testing.

The initiative follows on from the appointment of Thales, in April 2002, to develop the first active array radar demonstrator based on the RBE2, which successfully achieved its objectives. The developments made using the demonstrator could lead to installation of the RBE2 radar on production Rafale combat aircraft. And with the radar’s scalable architecture, the upgrade to the active array antenna would simply involve changing antennas (plug and play).