C4iSR: Maritime

UK reveals plans to buy new N-POD floating offboard decoy for soft-kill defence

03 March 2019

The Outfit DLF(3b) countermeasure payload associated with Outfit DLF (3b) deploys an inflatable floating corner reflector decoy producing a large radar cross section. Source: IrvinGQ

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has disclosed plans to procure a new passive offboard decoy system to provide soft-kill anti-ship missile defence for Royal Navy (RN) ships.

Known as the Naval Passive Off-Board Decoy (N-POD) system, the new equipment is intended to replace the current Outfit DLF(3b) system in RN service. Outfit DLF(3b) is a passive radio frequency (RF) countermeasure using a floating inflatable corner reflector.

In a prior information notice issued on 18 February, the Maritime Combat Systems team within the MoD’s Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation advised that it was “considering replacing the current floating offboard decoy system (DLF[3b]) with a similar system”, adding that the N-POD requirement had been classified UK secret – UK eyes only and would therefore not be advertised in the EU.

It is currently anticipated that a pre-qualification questionnaire will be issued in June 2019, with an invitation to negotiate following in October 2019. A contract award is anticipated in May 2020. The contract is expected to be a Design, Development, Demonstration, and Manufacture contract with up to a five-year support contract.

The target in-service date for N-POD is anticipated to be 2023. A full operating capability is planned for 2025.

Developed and manufactured by IrvinGQ, the current Outfit DLF(3b) uses a deck-mounted launch tube, within which is a stowed decoy. Following launch activation, the decoy package – a corner reflector constructed of ‘metallised fabric’ – is launched out of the tube and then fully inflated alongside the ship’s hull on the sea surface. Once fully inflated, the decoy is automatically released and floats free past the stern.

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