BAE Systems to Upgrade Italian Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft


Italian Air Force has selected BAE Systems to upgrade its fleet of Tornado multi-role fighter aircraft.

The £20m upgrade contract includes the design, development and manufacture kits for 25 aircraft and to provide support to Alenia to embody the kits onto the aircraft at their Caselle factory in Turin, Italy.

The improvements also include new digital displays and full capability to employ night-vision goggles, and MIDS (Multi-functional Information Distribution System) Link 16.

The MIDS Link 16 will enable the aircraft to exchange near real-time tactical information, including data and voice, between air, ground and sea assets.

Work will commence next year on the mid-life upgrade of the ECR (Electronic Combat / Reconnaissance) and IDS (Interdictor / Strike) aircraft variants, and is expected to be completed in 2015.

The upgrade is said to be the last major upgrade of Italian Tornados before they go out of service date, which is expected to be before 2030.

Tornado is a multi-role fighter aircraft developed and built by Panavia Aircraft, a consortium consisting of BAE Systems, Alenia Aeronautica of Italy and Cassidian of Germany.