RAF to add threat-simulation hardware to A400M aircraft

LONDON. Defense and security firm Leonardo has signed a contract with Britain's Ministry of Defense to provide equipment that will simulate radar threats to the Royal Air Force (RAF) new A400M transport aircraft prior to takeoff.

By simulating threatening radars while the aircraft is still on the ground, flight commanders will be able to check that the complex defensive aids suite fitted to the A400M will function correctly during flight and therefore is capable of making an evidence-based decision on whether or not to commit to a mission in hostile territory.

The Leonardo threat-simulation equipment uses special radio frequency (RF)-emitting "hoods" that will cover the A400M’s sensors while the aircraft is still on the ground, stimulating its RF sensors with real radar energy.

While the Leonardo equipment will confirm that the A400M’s defensive aids suite is working properly on a mission-by-mission basis -- thereby providing "capability assurance"’ throughout the operational life of the A400M --the equipment will also reduce risk and cost for the aircraft’s flight trials prior to entering RAF service by ensuring that as much testing work as possible is carried out on the ground.