JED - July 2014 - 43

TECHNOLOGY SURVEY
A SAMPLING OF AIRBORNE IR DECOYS AND DISPENSERS
By Ollie Holt

IR DECOYS
IR decoys are composed of a pyrotechnic material,
such as Magnesium Teflon (MT) or Magnesium Teflon
Viton (MTV). These materials are mixed to provide an
IR signature that closely approximates an aircraft's
IR signature. These materials burn in air and when
ejected from the platform have an almost instant rise
time. The decoy's objective is to capture the missile
seeker's tracking function and then cause the missile seeker to lose track of the platform. The fast rise
time is needed to capture the missile seeker while
the expendable is still in close proximity to the aircraft (minimum separation), so that the expendable
and the engine plume are within the missile seeker's
field of view. Then, as the expendable and the engine
plume separate, the decoy's IR signature must look
more enticing than the engine plume, causing the
missile to follow the expendable and not the engine
plume (and the aircraft).
Successive generations of IR seekers have employed
spectral, temporal, spatial and kinematic techniques
to distinguish between flares and target aircraft.
As a result, decoy designs offer more sophistication
in terms of the materials they use and their flight
characteristics. For example, thrusted flares include
a propellant component that enables the decoy to fly
along with or even ahead of the platform for several
seconds, which is long enough to confuse in incoming
threat. Dual-spectral flares include two components
that radiate at different temperatures. These are designed to defeat threats that reject single-point flares
by looking for targets with two or more IR features,
such as heat from the leading edge of a wing and the
much hotter metal near the engine exhaust.
The more advanced missile seekers will add both a
spatial and spectral component to the tracking loop
in order to separate targets from countermeasures.
In order to defeat these advanced seekers, either a
cocktail of spectral and propelled flares is required

or a spectrally tailored propelled flare is needed to
degrade the missile seeker tracking capability.

DISPENSERS
The dispensers included in this month's survey
cover a variety of types, including traditional "bucket" designs, such as the AN/ALE-40, AN/ALE-45 and
ALE-47, which use pyrotechnic impulse cartridges or
"squibs" to eject the decoys. Typically, these types
of dispensers are programmable, meaning they can
be pre-programmed to dispense flares in a particular
pattern. Sometimes, two or even three different flare
types are loaded into dispensers in order to match
flares with specific types of threats. A few of these
dispensers also feature the ability to automatically
identify which type of flare is loaded into each slot of
the magazine. This helps with keeping track of an aircraft's flare inventory throughout a mission. Mechanical dispensers use a motor to drive a plunger that
pushes pyrophoric IR decoy material out of the dispenser. These dispensers can be started and stopped
either atomically via the EW suite or manually by the
aircrew. Depending on the amount of pyrophoric decoy material they can carry, they can provide preemptive IR protection for extended periods.

DISPENSER AND IR EXPENDABLES SAMPLING
This survey includes two related components. The
first section covers dispensers. The second section lists
the types of IR decoys that are available for use with
these dispensers. Most of the features in the dispenser
survey are self-defining so we will only look at some of
the more interesting features of the IR decoys.
Expendable type defines the type of decoy, including aerodynamic qualities, as well as the type of
materials used in the decoy. The "Ejection Method"
column describes how the flare or decoy is dispensed
from the aircraft. Some flares require a pyrotechnic
squib to eject the round. Other methods, such as some
special materials decoys (SMDs), are dispensed by releasing packets of SMD material into the airstream.
Our next technology survey will cover solid-state
amplifiers for EW applications and will be published
in the August issue.
Our next technology survey will cover solid-state
amplifiers for EW applications and will be published in the August issue.

The Journal of Electronic Defense | July 2014

T

his month JED will look at airborne infrared (IR) decoys and dispensers. IR decoys,
also known as countermeasures flares,
remain one of the simplest countermeasures for protecting rotary- and fixedwing aircraft against IR-guided threats.
This is due to their effectiveness against most
types of fielded IR-guided missiles, as well as their
affordability.

43



JED - July 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - July 2014

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
Washington Report
World Report
The Art of Fusion – Ew and Radar for Fighter Aircraft
EPAWSS: F-15 Ew Upgrade Ready to Launch
Technology Survey: Airborne Ir Decoys and Dispensers
EW 101
New Products
AOC Election Guide
AOC News
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look
JED - July 2014 - cover1
JED - July 2014 - cover2
JED - July 2014 - 3
JED - July 2014 - 4
JED - July 2014 - 5
JED - July 2014 - The View From Here
JED - July 2014 - 7
JED - July 2014 - Conferences Calendar
JED - July 2014 - 9
JED - July 2014 - Courses Calendar
JED - July 2014 - 11
JED - July 2014 - From the President
JED - July 2014 - 13
JED - July 2014 - 14
JED - July 2014 - The Monitor
JED - July 2014 - 16
JED - July 2014 - 17
JED - July 2014 - 18
JED - July 2014 - 19
JED - July 2014 - 20
JED - July 2014 - 21
JED - July 2014 - 22
JED - July 2014 - 23
JED - July 2014 - Washington Report
JED - July 2014 - 25
JED - July 2014 - World Report
JED - July 2014 - 27
JED - July 2014 - The Art of Fusion – Ew and Radar for Fighter Aircraft
JED - July 2014 - 29
JED - July 2014 - 30
JED - July 2014 - 31
JED - July 2014 - 32
JED - July 2014 - 33
JED - July 2014 - 34
JED - July 2014 - 35
JED - July 2014 - 36
JED - July 2014 - 37
JED - July 2014 - EPAWSS: F-15 Ew Upgrade Ready to Launch
JED - July 2014 - 39
JED - July 2014 - 40
JED - July 2014 - 41
JED - July 2014 - 42
JED - July 2014 - Technology Survey: Airborne Ir Decoys and Dispensers
JED - July 2014 - 44
JED - July 2014 - 45
JED - July 2014 - 46
JED - July 2014 - 47
JED - July 2014 - 48
JED - July 2014 - 49
JED - July 2014 - EW 101
JED - July 2014 - 51
JED - July 2014 - 52
JED - July 2014 - New Products
JED - July 2014 - 54
JED - July 2014 - AOC Election Guide
JED - July 2014 - 56
JED - July 2014 - 57
JED - July 2014 - 58
JED - July 2014 - 59
JED - July 2014 - 60
JED - July 2014 - 61
JED - July 2014 - 62
JED - July 2014 - AOC News
JED - July 2014 - 64
JED - July 2014 - Index of Advertisers
JED - July 2014 - JED Quick Look
JED - July 2014 - cover3
JED - July 2014 - cover4
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