Leonardo has signed a multi-year, performance-based logistics contract with Draken International to ensure a high availability rate for the GRIFO-L radars used to train US Air Force pilots.

The contract aims at ensuring the radars, installed on Draken’s fleet of 24 L-159E jets, are available whenever needed. Key to the contract award was Leonardo’s ability to quickly implement a bespoke business model, whereby robust support is delivered via a repair-and-return cycle backed by the wider Leonardo business.

The GRIFO-L radars which will be supported are used to deliver adversary air services at the USAF Fighter Weapons School at Nellis AFB in Nevada. Here, the L-159E, nicknamed the honey badger, simulates the role of hostile aircraft. As part of engagements, the GRIFO-L radar is used to emulate a credible threat to the 4th- and 5th-generation US, Italian, NATO and other allied fighter pilots undergoing training.

The contract is designed to sustain Draken’s fly-by-the-hour business model, which requires the radars to be readily available. To meet this need, Leonardo has developed a tailored, high-performance model which is able to support the ‘wartime rate’ of flying the training requires. Leonardo tested the new model on a trial basis with Draken in 2018, when it proved successful.

Leonardo’s GRIFO radar family is in service with six international air forces as well as Draken, a private operator. In total, more than 450 GRIFO radars have been sold, amassing over 150,000 flight hours between them. The latest addition to the family is the GRIFO-346 radar, which features optimised performance and has been tailored for the Leonardo M-346FA aircraft.

The GRIFO radars installed on Draken International’s fleet of L-159E aircraft will be supported under a novel, customised support contract from Leonardo that will ensure maximum radar availability. (Photo: Leonardo)

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