Leonardo expects more export orders for its multi-domain radar following entry-into-service with US Navy’s new uncrewed helicopter

15 February 2022

Leonardo has confirmed that its Osprey AESA radar, on show at the Singapore Air Show 2022 stand B-H39, is being evaluated for a number of multi-domain requirements by decision makers in the Indo Pacific region. The company is expecting to see increased interest at the Air Show as the first major exhibition for the radar since it went into service with the United States Navy in December 2021, on-board Northrop Grumman Corporation’s MQ-8C Fire Scout autonomous helicopter system.

Osprey is the first truly multi-domain AESA surveillance radar and is being used by 12 international operators for a range of missions from defence, security and civil protection to environmental monitoring and search and rescue. The radar is currently available in two variants: the compact Osprey 30 and the larger, more powerful Osprey 50.

In the Indo Pacific region, territorial and security disputes, including the growth of terrorism, have prompted requirements to modernise ageing defence equipment, particularly with advanced ISR capabilities, sparking demand for capabilities like Osprey.  Notably, the larger-aperture Osprey 50 will equip the four G550 AISREW platforms (designated MC-55A Peregrine) being acquired by Australia.

Designated AN/ZPY-8 in U.S. service, Osprey was deployed operationally in December with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22, Detachment 5 aboard the USS Milwaukee. On-board the MQ-8C Fire Scout, Osprey detects and automatically tracks contacts at extremely long range, at night and even in stormy weather conditions when visibility is extremely poor. This contributes to the U.S. Navy’s intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting (ISR&T) capabilities and supports the delivery of greater overall situational awareness to the joint force.

Osprey represents the very latest radar technology from domain leader Leonardo, the company that is also responsible for prestigious E-scan radar projects such as the new ECRS Mk2 fire control radar for the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Multi-Function Radio Frequency System (MRFS) for the next generation Tempest combat system.

As the first radar to offer fixed-panel AESA capabilities in a compact format, Osprey can be installed on almost any platform, from very small remotely-piloted aircraft up to large ISR platforms, including fixed-wing, rotary-wing and aerostats. Notably, Osprey comes equipped with a unique and patented small target detection and tracking capability. This mode can operate in even the most difficult and challenging sea states to providing a capability not offered by competing systems, able to detect a very small target such as a submarine periscope at long range.  

The company is also offering an enhanced version of its maritime-focused Seaspray AESA surveillance radar, called Seaspray V2. This offers significant range increases for certain critical modes, improved maritime detection and the ability to handle a high number of targets, while improving on its already-capable over-land mode suite. Leonardo and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. are currently working to integrate the Seaspray 7500E V2 radar into the centerline radar pod of the MQ-9B SeaGuardian remotely-piloted aircraft system (RPAS).