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Rafael launches ‘independent' towed decoy for aircraft

A computer-generated imagery (CGI) shows Rafael's new X-Guard RT fitted to the wing of a C-130 transport with its towed decoy retracted. (Rafael Advanced Defense Systems)

Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems announced on 10 May its new X-Guard RT, the latest addition to its X-Guard family of airborne protection systems.

The original X-Guard is housed in a pod that attaches to a hardpoint and releases a towed decoy that protects the aircraft against radar-guided air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles. Janes understands that it does this by emitting a signal that gives the incoming missile an inaccurate location for the aircraft.

Unlike the original X-Guard, which was primarily designed to be carried by fighters, the new RT variant is an ‘independent' system that does not require the aircraft to be fitted with separate onboard electronic warfare (EW) systems that can receive, analyse, and tell the decoy what signal to emit as it can perform these functions by itself, a Rafael executive told Janes.

“The independence of the system is certainly an outstanding quality,” the source said. “This opens up the ability to integrate it with new aircraft, such as cargo, which usually are not equipped with active advanced EW systems.”

He said the X-Guard RT receives power from the aircraft and weighs a few kilogrammes more than the original system – which the brochure puts at 65 kg – due to the additional functionality, but this should have no effect on flight performance.

Many flight trials have been conducted to minimise the X-Guard RT's impact on performance, the source said, resulting in the system being adapted to extreme flight conditions, including manoeuvres, high altitudes, and high speeds.

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