The UK Ministry of Defence has awarded a contract to Leonardo for equipment that will simulate radar threats for Royal Air Force’s A400M transport aircraft.

The MOD ordered one full system with support, with additional orders anticipated as the RAF fleet grows.

Simulating threats while the aircraft is still on the ground allows commanders to guarantee that the complex defensive aids suite fitted to the A400M will function as intended during flight. This gives room to make an evidence-based decision on whether to commit to a mission in hostile territory or not.

Leonardo’s threat simulation equipment uses Radio-Frequency emitting ‘hoods’ that would cover the A400M’s sensors. This allows the radar sensors to be tested with real radar energy while it’s still on the ground.

System support, as part of the contract, means ensuring the defensive aids suite is working on a mission-to-mission basis through the operational life of the A400M, alongside Leonardo’s “capability assurance.” This is the company’s push to close the gap between undetectable issues that arise over time from built-in test equipment and the ability to prevent them.

This capability assurance solution is already in service with the UK’s Typhoon, Tornado, C130J, Wildcat, Merlin and Chinook fleets, making the A400M the seventh UK platform to utilize it.

Leonardo will also provide its off-the-shelf handheld threat simulator, allowing crews to conduct a last-minute check immediately before taking off for a combat operation.