Friday, December 10, 2010

RBE2 Radar

The RBE2 is a multirole, passive electronically scanned array radar. It was developed during the 90s for the French Rafale fighter aircraft. RBE2 is an acronym for "Radar à Balayage Electronique 2". The RBE2 is capable of tracking up to 40 aircraft and engaging 8 of them. The RBE2 is also able to provide the Air-to-Ground performances that are required by the French government or potential export customers. A 90 million euros-worth contract was signed in July 2004 for the development and integration of an Active Electronically Scanned Array version of the RBE2. In July 2010, it was reported that Thales will commence deliveries of the new radar in August 2010 for use on the fourth tranche of Rafale aircraft with the first AESA-equipped squadron to become operational in 2012.

The RBE2-AA (active array) variant has been tested on both a Mystère 20, Mirage 2000 and Rafale testbed aircrafts from the Flight Test Center of the DGA (Délégation Générale pour l'Armement, the French procurement agency) and then on a Rafale. While the first tests were made with US-made transmitter/receivers, the current radar will feature parts manufactured by Thales.