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03:21 PM, March 28, 2018
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Leonardo Begins Deliveries of High-Tech Missile Decoy To UK
Leonardo Begins Deliveries of High-Tech Missile Decoy To UK

Leonardo has begun deliveries of its new ‘BriteCloud’ decoy to the UK’s Royal Air Force for combat missions following the Ministry of Defence’s formal go-ahead for the new technology.

The drinks-can-sized countermeasure, which protects fighter jets from modern radar-guided missiles, will be available for use by Tornado GR4 crews in the near future The RAF will be the first air force in the world to field this new protective technology.

The acceptance into service follows a series of tests carried out by the RAF in the United States in June 2017. These live firings saw dozens of BriteCloud decoys launched from Tornado GR4 aircraft by the RAF’s 41 Test and Evaluation Squadron against high-tech radar guidance systems.

The tests produced a string of successful results which were then handed over for in-depth analysis by Ministry of Defence scientists at the UK’s Air Warfare Centre and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).

In late 2017 the Ministry of Defence approved the technology for operations and first deliveries of the decoys by Leonardo to the RAF will take place this month. The speed at which BriteCloud has been taken from the drawing-board into operational service is a product of Leonardo’s close partnership with the RAF’s Rapid Capabilities Office, which was established to get new technologies into the hands of warfighters more quickly.

BriteCloud packs a sophisticated electronic radar jamming system into a package just a few inches long. The decoy can fit into a fighter aircraft’s standard chaff and flare dispenser and can be ejected at the push of a button if the aircraft is locked onto by a modern radar guided missile. Upon launch, BriteCloud instantly powers up and its automatic jammer produces a ‘ghost’ signal to defeat an enemy’s radar, making it straightforward to use and able to protect its host aircraft even in situations where traditional chaff and flare countermeasures would be ineffective. The technology is generically called an ‘Active Expendable Decoy’ (EAD); ‘active’ because of the electronic jammer and ‘expendable’ because the decoy is fired away from the combat jet to create a large ‘miss distance’ for an incoming missile.

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