Leonardo’s BriteCloud expendable RF decoy has undergone an extensive series of trials during which it showed significant promise.
In March this year the system was tested against what the company described as ‘‘a range of realistic ground-based threats’’ in a campaign undertaken in the USA by the RAF’s No. 41 Test and Evaluation Squadron. The platform was a Tornado GR.Mk 4.
More than 80 BriteClouds were launched during the trials, and repeatedly broke the radar lock of the threat system.
Currently, the data from the trials is being analysed by the RAF’s Air Warfare Centre and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), and following due diligence Leonardo hopes the system can be cleared for service.
BriteCloud fires from a standard chaff/flare dispenser and incorporates a digital RF memory (DRFM) jammer that decoys radar-guided missiles away from the aircraft platform.
The battery-powered system is far more effective at defeating radar-guided missiles than traditional chaff, and has the added advantage of not being susceptible to home-on-jam techniques that can target traditional internal electronic countermeasures.
Saab is offering the BriteCloud as an option on all versions of the Gripen fighter, while it is proven on the Tornado. These employ the initial BriteCloud 55 version of the decoy, which is fired from circular dispensers with a 55mm diameter.
In June, Leonardo unveiled the BriteCloud 218, which has 2x1x8in dimensions to fit the rectangular-section dispensers used by aircraft such as the F-15 and F-16. The 218 version has been test-launched from an F-16 of the Royal Danish Air Force as part of final development work.