The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has successfully carried out its initial evaluation of Finmeccanica’s BriteCloud decoy - a new-generation anti-missile countermeasure.
The RAF purchased a number of decoys and has carried out trials against a range of simulated threats featuring real radar systems. The tests demonstrated the effectiveness of the BriteCloud decoys against the kind of modern threats that could be encountered by pilots and proved the maturity of the technology.
Modern radar-guided missiles are able to defeat the traditional chaff countermeasures that have been in use since WW2. BriteCloud was designed to beat 21st century threats, with its innovation centring on the miniaturisation of advanced jamming technology. The final product is a battery-powered Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM) jammer in a completely self-contained unit, reduced to the size of drinks can. The decoy is therefore small enough to be ejected from fighter aircraft in exactly the same way as a flare, allowing pilots to lure even the most up-to-date RF-guided missiles and fire control radars away from their aircraft.
During the tests, which took place in the USA in October 2015, a number of fully functional decoys were launched from a Tornado GR4 aircraft as it was tracked by ground-based advanced RF threat systems. The decoys performed as planned, automatically detecting threat radars and jamming them with the decoy's embedded DRFM jammer.
The BriteCloud Expendable Active Decoy (EAD) has been developed by Finmeccanica in conjunction with the UK's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) and the UK MoD's Defence Equipment and Support organisation. The BriteCloud product was launched by Finmeccanica in November 2013 alongside its launch partner Saab, who are offering the decoy as an electronic warfare enhancement option for its range of Gripen jets. BriteCloud is the same size and shape as a flare and is dispensed from a standard 55mm flare cartridge, making it ideally suited for a range of fighter jets. Finmeccanica is also working with a number of other manufacturers to adapt existing systems for the use of the 55mm cartridge.