Leonardo’s Vixen 500E AESA radar has been selected by Romania’s INCAS aerospace research and development establishment for a new trainer technology demonstrator programme.
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 trainer technology demonstrator programme IAR-99 TD.
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.
Leonardo has worked with INCAS previously, providing its SeaSpray 5000E AESA surveillance radar for INCAS’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 programme.
Norman Bone, Managing Director of Leonardo’s Airborne and Space Systems division, said: “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.”
The prototype aircraft with the radar on-board is expected to be ready for testing by the end of 2017.
The contract with INCAS follows Leonardo’s recent provision of the same Vixen 500E radar to the US Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) in Patuxent River, Maryland, where students will use the radar while training on-board the school’s C-26 aircraft. Previously, Leonardo has also sold the Vixen 500E to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.