The German Air Force will acquire 15 Eurofighter Typhoon EK (Electronic Combat) fighter jets from Airbus, which will be equipped with Saab Arexis sensor suites (Airbus Defence on X)

BELFAST — Airbus has agreed to a three-year contract with Saab for the Swedish manufacturer to integrate its Arexis modular electronic warfare (EW) sensor equipment on German Eurofighter EK (Electronic Combat) fighter jets.

The order comes after the German defence procurement office selected Arexis for the role in June 2023 and “marks the first phase” of delivery on the program, said Saab in a press release today. A contract value was not included.

A total of 15 Eurofighter EK jets will be fitted with the sensor suites alongside other EW “solutions” added the manufacturer. The new aircraft are set to replace German Air Force Tornado ECR (Electronic Combat/Reconnaissance) platforms when they retire in 2030.

Saab also noted that Arexis will feature an “AI platform” supplied by partner Helsing, a European AI defense start up.

In November 2023, Airbus said that an AI “solution” selected for Eurofighter EK jets, “makes it possible to analyse radar data on-board and quickly determine precise self-protection measures.”

Initially developed for integration on Saab Gripen E/F fighter jets, Arexis is marketed as an “invisible wingman” and a system “featuring smart software and high-tech modular components with [a] small footprint in a proven and tested architecture.”

Micael Johansson, Saab’s CEO, said that “combining advanced hardware and AI-enabled software, our Arexis sensor suite will strengthen the German defence with future-proof electronic warfare capability for decades to come.”

German Eurofighter EK aircraft are also set to be armed with Northrop Grumman made AGM-88E2 Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missiles (AARGM). The combination of AARGM and Arexis will allow the planes “to detect, localise and disable anti-aircraft radars,” according to Airbus.

The anti-radiation missile was developed by Northrop for the US Navy and is fielded with F/A-18C/D, FA-18E/F and EA-18G fighter jets, though the service has since prioritized production of an extended range version (AARGM-ER) based on modification of the weapon’s guidance and control sections and integration of a new rocket motor.

The main mission of the missile is to detect and strike “re-locatable Integrated Air Defense (IAD) targets,” according to a NAVAIR factsheet.