The US Office of Naval Research (ONR) has awarded small-scale 12-month concept-design contracts for radio frequency (RF) and electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) payloads intended to equip a next-generation expendable offboard decoy system able to stay airborne on station for at least one hour.
Known as the Long Endurance Advance Off-board Electronic Warfare (AOEW) Platform (LEAP), the programme envisages the development of a carrier flight vehicle and compatible countermeasure payload(s). In April the ONR outlined a development strategy "to pursue a modular vehicle and payload concept to allow for rapid evolution of payload capabilities with a common flight vehicle to counter the progression of anti-ship cruise missile threats", adding that "it is anticipated that multiple payloads will be compatible with a single vehicle that is common among diverse payload configurations to address multiple threats".
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