EADS Defence & Security (DS) has supplied the German Luftwaffe with its first Tornado production aircraft retrofitted in the Avionics Software System Tornado Ada (ASSTA) programme to meet the ASSTA 2 capability standard. Military Air Systems (MAS), the DS Business Unit responsible for the project, handed over the Electronic Combat and Reconnaissance (ECR) type aircraft to the Bundeswehr Technical Centre WTD 61 in Manching following successful final tests. Luftwaffe pilots and engineers are now being trained on the new devices and functions in Manching.
The main focus of the ASSTA 2 programme was on improving the Tornado’s cockpit displays and increasing the aircraft’s survivability against the latest ground-based and airborne air defence systems. In addition, the Tornado was equipped with comprehensive software and hardware updates, such as an improved head-down visual display unit, modern colour screens, a digitised map display, the improved Tornado Defensive Aids Subsystem (TDASS) for radar warnings, an enhanced navigation system, and more powerful computers.
All 85 Tornados destined for the German Luftwaffe will now be consecutively upgraded to the new standard. The plan is to convert 62 aircraft at the company’s Military Air Systems Center in Manching and 23 at the 1st Air Force Maintenance Regiment (Luftwaffeninstandhaltungsregiment 1) in Erding.
With the support of Alenia Aeronautica in Italy and BAE Systems in the UK, EADS Defence & Security is responsible on behalf of Panavia GmbH for the project management, development, manufacture and installation of the combat efficiency improvement upgrades for the German Tornados. As an industrial partner in the trinational Tornado programme, DS (and its predecessor companies) was in charge of developing and manufacturing all of the Tornado’s centre fuselage sections, and was also responsible for its avionics system, communications system, flight control computer and entire computer system.
It was on the basis of this expertise that the company was entrusted with the ASSTA 1 programme for extending the Tornado’s service life in 1994. After the successful completion of this first update programme, Germany and Italy decided to carry out further upgrade programmes to adapt the Tornados to the latest technological developments and secure their combat strength for several decades longer. At present, ASSTA standard 3 is being tested in Manching. The focus here is on installing the Link 16 data exchange standard and further high-performance weapon systems.
Military Air Systems is an integrated activity of EADS Defence & Security (DS). DS is a systems solutions provider for armed forces and civil security worldwide. Its portfolio ranges from sensors and secure networks through missiles to aircraft and UAVs as well as global security, service and support solutions. In 2009, DS – with around 21,000 employees – achieved revenues of EUR 5.4 billion. EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2009, EADS generated revenues of EUR 42.8 billion and employed a workforce of about 119,000.