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Saab reveals MBDA link as Arexis air-launched decoy breaks cover

Saab showed the Arexis air-launched decoy for the first time at AOC Europe 2021 (Richard Scott/NAVYPIX)

Saab and MBDA have disclosed that they are working together on the development of a miniaturised powered decoy that will form part of Saab's Arexis airborne electronic warfare (EW) product portfolio.

Revealed at the AOC Europe 2021 conference and exhibition in Liverpool on 12 October, the proposed Arexis air-launched decoy would integrate a Saab electronic attack (EA) payload into the air vehicle and wider weapons system architecture already in development by MBDA for the SPEAR-EW stand-in jammer.

Saab describes Arexis as a family of airborne EW solutions addressing threat warning, situational awareness, self-protection, and EA. The company first announced its concept for a small, long range/long endurance EW decoy in 2017, and has kept the Swedish Air Force, the Defence Materiel Administration, and the Defence Research Agency appraised of its work.

However, the presence of an Arexis air-launched decoy model at AOC Europe 2021 was the first time that the company had publicly revealed that it was co-operating with MBDA to explore an adaptation of SPEAR-EW.

Derived from the SPEAR network-enabled mini-cruise missile, SPEAR-EW has been conceived as a long-range stand-in jammer and decoy to support the suppression of enemy air defences and thereby increase the survivability of offensive air in complex and contested airspace. MBDA is currently nearing completion of a technology demonstrator programme, funded by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), designed to de-risk the integration of a Leonardo compact jamming payload into the air vehicle and wider weapon system, identify the necessary design adaptations, and inform the MoD's investment case.

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