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Leonardo upgrades BriteCloud EAD with ‘smart' features

An artist's rendering of the upgraded BriteCloud countermeasure for aircraft. (Leonardo)

The UK-based electronic warfare (EW) business of Leonardo has upgraded the large aircraft variant of its BriteCloud expendable active decoy (EAD) to meet the latest NATO STANAG-4871 self-protection standard and offer compatibility with new ‘smart' countermeasure dispenser systems.

Announcing the development on 18 January the company revealed that the latest BriteCloud 55-T variant will also be able to exchange data with the host aircraft's onboard self-protection system to maximise performance of the expendable in contested airspace.

BriteCloud is a compact digital radio frequency memory (DRFM)-based expendable jammer designed to provide fast jet aircraft with effective ‘endgame' protection against advanced RF-guided missile threats and/or tracking radars. After ejection, the BriteCloud decoy searches and locks onto the highest priority threat; the DRFM's coherent response prevents the threat from detecting the deception as the decoy separates, generating large miss distances and breaking the target lock.

The BriteCloud 55-T decoy adopts the same form factor as a standard 55 mm flare cartridge, and can be launched from a range of common dispensing systems. Whereas the original BriteCloud 55 was designed specifically for fast jets, the 55-T has been built to protect larger aircraft – such as the C-27J and A400M – and so features increased power output to mask the larger radar cross-sections of these types.

According to Leonardo, the BriteCloud 55-T EAD is now fully compatible with the Smart Stores Communication Interface (SSCI) incorporated as part of STANAG-4781 to enable in-flight communication and optimal use of smart expendables (such as EADs and multishot cartridges) as part of a mixed countermeasures load. The SSCI also enables automatic expendable type recognition and automatically logs payload logistic information, including air carriage life and use-by date.

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