Next generation Eurofighter "shield"

As a leader in electronic defense, Indra has contributed to the success of the Eurofighter Typhoon on complex international missions such as Libya and Syria. The company will now prepare the fighter plane together with a selected group of partners to protect it against the threats that it will face in the coming decades.

A pilot enters the cockpit of the Eurofighter and takes off from the Siauliai air base in Lithuania. This is a routine mission with which NATO contributes to Baltic nation's the air defense.

Once in the air, the Praetorian electronic defense system sweeps the electromagnetic space to check if a Russian aircraft or radar is operating near the border.

Housed in two compartments or pods at the ends of the wings, this system tracks any electromagnetic activity that reveals the presence of an enemy platform or system. 

It allows the aircraft to be operated without being detected, thanks to its ability to deceive the adversary's surveillance systems. And in the event of attack by an infra-red thermal or guided missile, it warns the pilot and launches countermeasures to neutralize it. 

“The Praetorian Defensive aid sub-system (DASS) is made up of sensors and jamming devices that interfere with and trick the enemy systems. It provides pilots with exceptional knowledge of the surroundings in which they move and allows them to operate with maximum stealth, thanks to the use of advanced electronic deception techniques”, explains Daniel de Lorenzo, business director of Indra’s Eurofighter line.

But for this system that has won recognition from elite pilots the world over, the time has come to think about the future. The rapid technological development of countries that may become rivals is forcing it to do so.

For this reason, the EuroDASS consortium – of which Indra, along with Leonardo, Elettronica and Hensoldt forms a part – has just been made responsible for developing and improving the system to face the threats that may arise in the coming decades.

A scenario in which aircraft sensors and enemy platforms will be much more sensitive and difficult to detect, in which more precise weapons will be used along with sophisticated unmanned aircraft that will launch a coordinated attack in swarms. Moreover, these systems will use advanced artificial intelligence and big data techniques that will increase their effectiveness and speed. 

According to the Indra director “the improvements in the Praetorian system affect the system architecture, to prepare it to quickly incorporate any new function that may arise in the future and at the lowest possible cost. We will also work to improve the use of data and the fusion of sensors that have provided the characteristic flexibility that has made Eurofighter the most advanced multi-role fighter on the planet”.

The ultimate goal, explains de Lorenzo, is “to bring all information and possible options to the table for associate countries of the Eurofighter to make an informed decision”.  

Leader in avionics

In recent decades, Indra has become one of the most advanced companies in the world in the development of avionic systems.  

It is currently the second-largest supplier of avionic systems to the Eurofighter. In addition to Praetorian, it has also worked on the development of the Captor radar, a key element of the aircraft, as well as communications subsystems, flight control, weapons control, and engine and utilities control, for example. It also participates in the main improvements of the platform that are already under way. 

Other aircraft that use its technology are the A400M and F18 European military transport plane, the Tiger, Chinook and Spanish NH90 helicopters.

However the project that will really highlight the future and in which Indra aspires to show its leadership in avionic systems is the development of the New Generation Weapons System, (NGWS) of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

The company is already working with the Spanish Ministry of Defense and the General Directorate of Armaments and Material (DGAM) in the study of the concept and future capabilities of this system.

More recently, the Spanish Government has appointed Indra as the national industrial coordinator of the European FCAS (Future Combat Air System) defense program, the largest joint European defense program to date and the most ambitious in terms of technological development.

FCAS is a critical program for Spain with regard to its sovereignty and technological and industrial development and the creation of highly-skilled employment.  

Indra will perform this work together with the industrial leaders designated in turn by France and Germany (Dassault and Airbus respectively). Its selection constitutes recognition of its defense systems capabilities, its experience in international programs and its suitability for coordinating and acting as a driving force of Spanish industry.

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