Warton, UK - BAE Systems has been awarded a $31.1 million contract for the upgrade of Italian Air Force Tornados, including new digital cockpit displays. Work will begin next year on the mid life upgrade of the Electronic Combat/ Reconnaissance (ECR) and Interdictor/Strike (IDS) aircraft variants and is expected to be completed in 2015.
Tornado is developed and built by Panavia Aircraft GmbH, a tri-national consortium consisting of BAE Systems, Alenia Aeronautica of Italy and Cassidian of Germany.
BAE Systems involvement in the mid life upgrade includes the design, develop and manufacture kits for 25 aircraft and provide support to Alenia to embody the kits onto the aircraft at its factory in Turin, Italy.
In addition to the new displays, upgrades will include Multi-functional Information Distribution System (MIDS) Link 16 which will give the ability to exchange near real-time tactical information, including both data and voice, between air, ground and sea assets, according to BAE.
This is the last major upgrade of Italian Tornados before the out of service date which is currently expected to be before 2030.