JAGUAR is an advanced technology demonstrator programme that is developing 6th generation sensing capability suitable for a future combat air system. At the Farnborough International Airshow, the world’s biggest bi-annual meeting of the defence and security industry, the partners announced that they had agreed the concept for JAGUAR following the completion of joint concept work and feasibility studies earlier this year.
Leonardo UK believes that the strength of the relationship with Mitsubishi Electric and the progress delivered to-date has proven the workability of complex engineering between the UK and Japan and demonstrated the ease of the working relationship. Early concerns over language and time zone barriers have proven unfounded and given way to a relationship that is highly workable, highly cooperative and very trusting. People from both companies have been ready and willing to travel between Japan and the UK to meet their counterparts and the engineering collaboration has built on shared understanding and natural communication skills.
Andrew Howard, Director of Major Air Programmes at Leonardo UK, says: “We've found the relationship with Mitsubishi Electric to be one that is founded on common interests and common values, both at a national level and an individual level. Our desire to work with Mitsubishi Electric is underpinned by a view that the company has a very complementary skill set to ours which will drive excellence and clarity into our technical solutions."
JAGUAR represents the first big building block of an international radar programme that meets the ambitions laid out by Japan and the UK as part of F-X/Future Combat Air System discussions. With aspirations to go beyond JAGUAR, Leonardo UK and Mitsubishi Electric have been exploring the feasibility of further cooperating in the ISANKE (Integrated Sensing and Non-Kinetic Effects) domain, the spider’s web of sensor nodes that will give FCAS a genuine 6th generation information advantage.
“We absolutely believe that a UK-Japanese partnership will be key to the future sensor solution,” adds Andrew Howard. “We're highly optimistic about the quality of the engineering partnership built upon strong relationships."
At the same time, Leonardo’s UK and Italian electronics businesses, working with Italian defence electronics company Elettronica, are collaborating in the domain of sensors and communications with a view towards joint work on the international FCAS programme. Leonardo expects collaboration between the UK, Italy and Japan to be the foundation of the FCAS project.