Leonardo’s Vixen 500E AESA radar has been procured by the National Institute for Aerospace Research “Elie Carafoli” (INCAS), Romania’s leading aerospace research and development establishment, for its new IAR-99 TD trainer technology demonstrator program. The project is based on a Romanian Air Force IAR-99 Soim (prototype no. 7003) which will be modified by INCAS together with aircraft manufacturer Avioane Craiova.
Vixen 500E is one of Leonardo’s active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar systems, meaning that instead of physically pointing the radar’s antenna at its target, a matrix of miniature radar modules is used to steer the beam electronically. This technology allows Vixen to combine high performance with reliability and a low cost of ownership, as well as being easy to install and operate. The prototype aircraft with the radar on-board is expected to be ready for testing by the end of 2017.
Leonardo has worked with INCAS previously, providing its Seaspray 5000E AESA surveillance radar for organization’s special mission BN-2 Islander aircraft. This is currently being used for scientific and environmental monitoring missions. It is hoped that the sale of the Vixen 500E could lead in future to Romania’s fleet of IAR-99s being retrofitted with the new radar as part of a wider upgrade program.
Norman Bone, Managing Director of Leonardo’s Airborne and Space Systems division, said: “This partnership with INCAS is representative of Leonardo’s open and collaborative approach to meeting the demands of the market. By working together, we are able to better understand, and provide the best solution for the needs of the Romanian MOD. Looking to the future, following further work on the IAR-99 Technology Demonstrator, we see further commercial potential outside of Romania and are looking forward to working with INCAS to address this.”
Dr. Catalin Nae, General Manager of INCAS, said: “It is a dedicated development program towards a new generation trainer we develop at INCAS, as a follow-up on the current IAR-99 Soim in service for the Romanian MoD. IAR-99 TD is a technological demonstrator to fully test and further develop new technologies for an advanced trainer, with enhanced sensing and combat capabilities. The Vixen 500E radar system will bring the capability that we consider critical with respect to the operational environment for our future trainer.”
Paul Brummel CMG, the UK Ambassador to Romania, said: “I am delighted that Leonardo, a company spearheading British radar technology in Europe, is now a partner of the Romanian Government through INCAS. The British Embassy looks forward to helping the Romanian Armed Forces achieve its goals of modernization with the support of other British companies offering cutting-edge technologies.”