The consortium that delivers the Praetorian Defensive Aids Subsystem Suite (DASS) for the Eurofighter Typhoon has unveiled its plans for the development of a next-generation, all-digital architecture variant of the combat aircraft’s protection suite.
The so-called Praetorian Evolution concept has been unveiled as the next iteration of the DASS system that will protect the fighter in years to come, which will include it moving beyond the role of a traditional DASS that serves as an organic protection system to one that will allow Typhoon to integrate further with future fleets and concepts of operations. This will include the ability to carry out multi-platform electronic warfare and combat intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) roles, including high-precision targeting and advanced combat identification. Its all-digital architecture, meanwhile, will allow for easier upgrades to the system, which will provide cost savings in the years to come.
The EuroDASS consortium is led by Leonardo and includes partners Elettronica, Indra, and Hensoldt, each of which represents the home nations behind the development of Typhoon, namely the UK, Italy, Spain, and Germany, respectively. The launch of the new concept was made at a EuroDASS Future Capability user conference, which was attended by military and industry from each of the partner nations, the consortium noted.
EuroDASS says that the new iteration will take Praetorian beyond just the provision of protection to a being part of a more multi-layered and combat ISR approach and is part of the consortium’s plans to ensure that Typhoon can operate alongside fifth-generation and future aircraft. This includes being able to contend with emerging air and surface threats such as networked, layered and integrated air defense systems.
The in-service DASS system provides the Typhoon with the ability to carry out threat assessment and the subsequent deployment of support measures to deliver protection from threats such as infrared/heat-seeking and radar-guided missiles, while integrated sensors and jammers provide situational awareness and a digital stealth capability, which are delivered through electronic deception techniques.
Praetorian integrates the electronic support measures, electronic countermeasures, missile warning system and towed radar decoy on Typhoon to carry out this role, and while the consortium has praised the DASS that has been in service for some 20 years, EuroDASS notes that future operational scenarios in which the fighter is likely to be involved will include facing expanded air defense systems, so the Praetorian has to evolve to be able to counter them.
This planned development of the system follows the launch of the so-called Praetorian Long-Term Evolution (LTE) study earlier this year, which EuroDASS says will be rolled into the Praetorian Evolution’s roadmap to provide technical and growth options for the system. It was announced in September that BAE Systems had awarded Leonardo, on behalf of the EuroDASS consortium, an 18-month contract to work on the Praetorian LTE, developing concepts for potential upgrades for the DASS.
This Praetorian study is part of a broader LTE effort that Eurofighter is carrying out for Typhoon, which is exploring the necessary technology enhancements for the aircraft’s weapons and propulsion systems to ensure that the fighter is future-proofed for the expected emerging requirements it will have to contend with throughout its remaining operational life.