The National Institute for Aerospace Research ‘Elie Carafoli’ (INCAS) in Romania has acquired the Vixen 500E active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar from Leonardo for its trainer technology demonstrator programme, IAR-99 TD.
The demonstrator, which is based on a Romanian Air Force IAR-99 Soim advanced jet trainer (prototype no 7003), will be modified by INCAS and aircraft manufacturer Avioane Craiova.
INCAS general manager Dr Catalin Nae said: “It is a dedicated development programme 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 the 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.”
Leonardo’s Vixen 500E AESA radar system uses a matrix of miniature radar modules to steer the beam electronically.
The lightweight radar features fire control, surveillance and reconnaissance search capabilities, along with target acquisition, tracking and prosecution ability for a variety of platforms and applications.
The prototype aircraft fitted with the radar is expected to be ready for testing by the end of this year.
The US has recently procured Vixen 500E for its Naval Test Pilot School.
Leonardo said that its AESA fire control radars have been chosen for Europe’s latest generation single and twin-engine jets, including Saab’s Gripen E and the Eurofighter Typhoon.