German Air Force to issue new RFI to accommodate ECR capability

Representatives from German industry have said they anticipate the German government issuing an updated request for information (RFI) for its Tornado replacement requirement, to include the electronic attack (EA) mission not stipulated in the original solicitation.

A concept of Eurofighter ECR platform displayed at IQPC International Fighter Conference 2019. Airbus expects the German government to issue an updated RFI to include the electronic attack mission in its Tornado replacement requirement. (Airbus via IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings)
A concept of Eurofighter ECR platform displayed at IQPC International Fighter Conference 2019. Airbus expects the German government to issue an updated RFI to include the electronic attack mission in its Tornado replacement requirement. (Airbus via IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings)

The statement was made by officials from Airbus who were promoting the company’s Electronic Combat Reconnaissance (ECR) version of the Eurofighter to replace the Luftwaffe’s Tornado ECR aircraft. They noted that, while the original RFI and subsequent request for proposals (RFP) did include suppression of enemy air defences (SEAD) as one of the core missions of the current Tornado ECR, airborne EA is a completely new mission set that was not originally covered.

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Its not being included, they said, meant the Eurofighter ECR could not formally be submitted and neither could the Boeing EA-18G Growler that is being offered as a dedicated EA offering alongside the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

“The EA and ECR pod were excluded from the RFP last year [that considered 10 current Tornado missions and 2 additional but undisclosed missions]. These were to be discussed at a later date, [and we] are now expecting an updated RFI from the German government,” Wolfgang Gammel, vice-president, Combat Sales, Airbus, told reporters at the IQPC International Fighter conference in Berlin, adding that the company would be prepared to deliver its Eurofighter ECR offering no matter what the German timeline happens to be.

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