Leonardo has signed a multi-year support service contract with Draken International to support the Grifo-L fire control radar systems installed on Draken’s fleet of 24 L-159E ALCA aggressor jets.
The Grifo-L radars which will be supported are used to deliver ‘Adversary Air’ services at the U.S. Air Force (USAF) Fighter Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base. Here, the L-159E, nicknamed the “Honey Badger”, simulates the role of an ‘enemy’ aircraft. As part of engagements, the Grifo-L radar is used to emulate a credible threat to the 4th and 5th Generation U.S., Italian, NATO, and other Allied fighter pilots undergoing training.
The contract is designed to sustain Draken’s flying-by-the-hour business model, which requires the Grifo-L radars to be readily available. To meet this need, Leonardo has developed a tailored, high-performance model that is able to support the ‘wartime rate’ of flying which is required. Leonardo tested the new model under a trial basis with Draken in 2018 where it proved successful.
Leonardo’s Grifo family of radar systems is in service with six international Air Forces as well as Draken, a private operator. In total, more than 450 Grifo radars have been sold, notching up more than 150,000 flight hours between them. The latest addition to the Grifo family is the Grifo-346 radar, which features optimised performance and has been tailored for the Leonardo M-346FA (Fighter Attack) aircraft.
Draken’s Aero Vodochody L-159E “Honey Badger”
The Draken L-159E Honey Badger is a Boeing and Aero Vodochody designed single-seat, multi-role aircraft capable of supporting a variety of air-to-air, air-to-ground and reconnaissance missions.
The L-159 Advanced Light Combat Aircraft (ALCA) are all virtually brand new 4th Generation fighters, which were specifically modified by the OEM to meet Draken’s demanding performance requirements. The L-159E safety record combined with the aircraft’s low operating costs and advanced sensor capabilities ensures that it will be the leading asset in the commercial air services industry.
The L-159 Honey Badger features a multi-mode 4th generation Leonardo Grifo-L radar that permits all-weather, day and night operations. The L-159E can also carry a wide range of US and NATO standard ordinances including air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles (AGMs) and laser-guided bombs (LGBs). This aircraft can also carry the LITENING Pod and other specially designed Electronic Attack (EA) pods to satisfy a verity of customer requirements.