The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has contracted Leonardo to provide pre-flight simulation of radar threats to the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) new A400M transport aircraft.
Leonardo’s threat simulation equipment uses special radio-frequency (RF) emitting ‘hoods’ to simulate radar threats while the aircraft is still on the ground.
By stimulating A400M’s RF sensors with real radar energy, Leonardo’s equipment will ensure that the aircraft’s complex defensive aids suite is functioning properly.
The A400M’s defensive aids suite includes built-in test equipment (BITE), which signals to the pilot that the equipment is working as designed.
The threat simulation equipment is claimed to de-risk and reduce the cost of the aircraft’s flight trials, prior to entering service with the RAF.
It will also provide capability assurance throughout the operational life of the A400M.
The UK-designed and built capability assurance solution is already in service with the British Typhoon, Tornado, C130J, Wildcat, Merlin, and Chinook fleets, Leonardo stated.
The MoD contract also covers through-life support, with additional orders anticipated as the RAF’s fleet size grows.
Leonardo will provide its off-the-shelf handheld threat simulator that will allow crews to conduct a last-minute check immediately before taking off for a combat operation.
The A400M aircraft features an integrated, digital avionics system in the cockpit and a fly-by-wire control system.
It is also equipped with a night-vision-compatible glass cockpit with two head-up displays supported by at least five multi-function displays.
With an ability to operate either at low-level or at high-level altitudes, the aircraft can deploy troops and/or equipment between and within theatres of operation either by parachute or by landing on short, unprepared or semi-prepared strips.