JED - October 2013 - 54

Is Market for Active RF Decoys
Opening up Again?
By Luca Peruzzi and John Knowles

T

The Journal of Electronic Defense | October 2013

54

he threat posed by advanced
integrated air defense systems (IADS) has started to
catch the attention of western military leaders again.
During the 10-plus years
that US and European military forces
spent focusing on IR-MANPADS and
RCIEDs in Afghanistan and Iraq, western EW planners were forced to prioritize investment in IR countermeasures
and communications EW ahead of radar
countermeasures. This trend is reversing itself quickly, however. Today, the
US is fleshing out its Air-Sea Battle concept, in which strike aircraft and naval
forces must contend with anti-access
area-denial (A2/AD) threats, such as the
S-300 and S-400 air defense systems.
These air defense systems are far more
capable and lethal than their Cold Warera predecessors, and NATO has never
faced them in any military operation.
(See “Modern SAM Threat – Unlearned
Lessons” in the April 2012 JED for more.)
In Europe, air force leaders know that
their successful 2011 performance in
Libya depended on US jamming aircraft
and a fairly outdated Libyan air defense
network. Neither of these factors is certain to be true in future conflicts.
One of the key EW questions for many
air forces today is how to defeat these
advanced threat systems. A combination of survivability technologies, such
as RF jammers, stealth, stand-off targeting and precision stand-off munitions,
can be utilized against these threats.
But when the incoming threat is an agile
missile that can switch into home-on-

jam mode to find its target, the solution
calls for active off-board decoys.

COLD WAR BEGINNINGS
The concept of active RF decoys is not
new. Toward the end of the Cold War, the
US developed and bought the AM 6988
Primed Oscillator Expendable Transponder (POET) active expendable RF decoy
(manufactured by Sanders, now BAE Systems) and the RT-1489 ALE Generic Expendable (GEN-X) decoy (manufactured
by Texas Instruments, now Raytheon).
These were small, cylindrical decoys that
fit into the standard magazine of an ALE39 or ALE-47 countermeasures dispenser
on a fighter. When a missile launch was
detected by the fighter’s EW suite, the
decoys were activated and dispensed as
an endgame countermeasure to lure the
missile away from the aircraft. They had
to provide enough battery life (less than
10 seconds) to continue transmitting
while the aircraft quickly maneuvered
away from the decoy to avoid the blast
from the missile’s fragmentation warhead. POET and GEN-X were adequate for
defeating specific RF missile threats at
that time, but their utility is limited in
today’s threat environment.

TOWED DECOYS
Not long after POET and GEN-X were developed, the US and UK began to develop
towed active RF decoys. Early solutions,
such as the ALE-50, relied on a repeater
concept. Launched and towed up to a few
hundred feet behind the host aircraft,
the decoy receives an electrical current
down the towline, powering a traveling

wave tube (TWT) in the device. The decoy independently detects the threat
missile’s signal and “repeats” it back,
luring the missile to the decoy rather
than the aircraft. By the mid-1990s the
Navy was developing fiber-optic towed
decoys (FOTDs), which in addition to an
electrical feed, also receive sophisticated
jamming techniques from the onboard
jammer down the fiber-optic portion of
the towline. This enables the decoy to be
used in a pre-emptive mode, as well as
in a true “decoy” mode against incoming
threats.
Today, there are many FOTDs on the
market, such as Selex’s Ariel, Raytheon’s
FO-50 (i.e., fiber-optic ALE-50); Cassidian’s Sky Buzzer, BAE Systems’ ALE-55
and Rafael’s X-Guard. In its FY14 budget
request, the US Navy described plans to
buy ALE-70 FOTDs from BAE Systems for
its F-35 fighters.

BRITECLOUD
In EW, proven concepts never die.
They always come back with new technology. This is certainly the case with
POET and GEN-X. This month, Selex ES
(Luton, UK) is introducing a new active RF decoy named BriteCloud. Similar in concept to GEN-X and POET, the
new decoy is designed for use on fighter
aircraft equipped with 55mm countermeasures dispensers, such as Saab’s
Gripen, the Eurofighter Typhoon and
the legacy Panavia Tornado. However,
BriteCloud is far more capable than its
Cold War-era predecessors. Fitted with a
digital RF memory (DRFM), a solid-state
power source delivering significant ef-



JED - October 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - October 2013

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
Letters
The Monitor
Washington Report
Growing AOC’s EW Advocacy Program
World Report
Beyond CREW: Army EW Fights for a Bigger Spectrum
US Army Electronic Warfare in the Post- Global War on Terrorism World
RF Decoys for Fighter Aircraft
New Products
EW 101
AOC News
AOC 50th Annual International Symposium and Convention Guide
AOC 2013 Award Winners
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look
JED - October 2013 - cover1
JED - October 2013 - cover2
JED - October 2013 - 3
JED - October 2013 - 4
JED - October 2013 - 5
JED - October 2013 - The View From Here
JED - October 2013 - 7
JED - October 2013 - Conferences Calendar
JED - October 2013 - 9
JED - October 2013 - Courses Calendar
JED - October 2013 - 11
JED - October 2013 - From the President
JED - October 2013 - 13
JED - October 2013 - Letters
JED - October 2013 - The Monitor
JED - October 2013 - 16
JED - October 2013 - 17
JED - October 2013 - 18
JED - October 2013 - 19
JED - October 2013 - 20
JED - October 2013 - 21
JED - October 2013 - 22
JED - October 2013 - 23
JED - October 2013 - 24
JED - October 2013 - 25
JED - October 2013 - 26
JED - October 2013 - 27
JED - October 2013 - Washington Report
JED - October 2013 - 29
JED - October 2013 - Growing AOC’s EW Advocacy Program
JED - October 2013 - 31
JED - October 2013 - 32
JED - October 2013 - 33
JED - October 2013 - World Report
JED - October 2013 - 35
JED - October 2013 - Beyond CREW: Army EW Fights for a Bigger Spectrum
JED - October 2013 - 37
JED - October 2013 - 38
JED - October 2013 - 39
JED - October 2013 - 40
JED - October 2013 - 41
JED - October 2013 - 42
JED - October 2013 - 43
JED - October 2013 - 44
JED - October 2013 - 45
JED - October 2013 - 46
JED - October 2013 - 47
JED - October 2013 - US Army Electronic Warfare in the Post- Global War on Terrorism World
JED - October 2013 - 49
JED - October 2013 - 50
JED - October 2013 - 51
JED - October 2013 - 52
JED - October 2013 - 53
JED - October 2013 - RF Decoys for Fighter Aircraft
JED - October 2013 - 55
JED - October 2013 - 56
JED - October 2013 - 57
JED - October 2013 - 58
JED - October 2013 - 59
JED - October 2013 - New Products
JED - October 2013 - 61
JED - October 2013 - EW 101
JED - October 2013 - 63
JED - October 2013 - 64
JED - October 2013 - 65
JED - October 2013 - 66
JED - October 2013 - 67
JED - October 2013 - AOC News
JED - October 2013 - 69
JED - October 2013 - 70
JED - October 2013 - 71
JED - October 2013 - 72
JED - October 2013 - 73
JED - October 2013 - 74
JED - October 2013 - AOC 50th Annual International Symposium and Convention Guide
JED - October 2013 - 76
JED - October 2013 - 77
JED - October 2013 - 78
JED - October 2013 - 79
JED - October 2013 - 80
JED - October 2013 - 81
JED - October 2013 - 82
JED - October 2013 - 83
JED - October 2013 - 84
JED - October 2013 - 85
JED - October 2013 - 86
JED - October 2013 - 87
JED - October 2013 - 88
JED - October 2013 - 89
JED - October 2013 - 90
JED - October 2013 - 91
JED - October 2013 - 92
JED - October 2013 - 93
JED - October 2013 - 94
JED - October 2013 - 95
JED - October 2013 - 96
JED - October 2013 - 97
JED - October 2013 - 98
JED - October 2013 - 99
JED - October 2013 - 100
JED - October 2013 - 101
JED - October 2013 - 102
JED - October 2013 - 103
JED - October 2013 - 104
JED - October 2013 - AOC 2013 Award Winners
JED - October 2013 - 106
JED - October 2013 - 107
JED - October 2013 - 108
JED - October 2013 - 109
JED - October 2013 - 110
JED - October 2013 - 111
JED - October 2013 - Index of Advertisers
JED - October 2013 - 113
JED - October 2013 - JED Quick Look
JED - October 2013 - cover3
JED - October 2013 - cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0318
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0218
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0118
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM1217
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM1117
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM1017
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0917
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0817
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0717
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0617
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0517
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0417
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0317
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0217
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0117
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM1216
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM1116
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM1016
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0916
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0816
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0716
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0616
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0516
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0416
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0316
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0216
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0116
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM1215
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM1115
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM1015
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0915
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0815
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0715
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0615
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0515
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0415
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0315
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0215
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0115
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM1214
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM1114
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM1014
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0914
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0814
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0714
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0614
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0514
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0414
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0314
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0214
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0114
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM1213
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM1113
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM1013
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0913
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0813
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0713
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0613
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0513
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0413
https://www.nxtbook.com/naylor/JEDM/JEDM0313
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0213
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0113
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM1212
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM1112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM1012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0912
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0812
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0712
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0612
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0512
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0412
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0312
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0212
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM1211
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM1111
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM1011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0911
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0811
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0711
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0611
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0511
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0411
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0311
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0211
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0111
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM1210
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM1110
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM1010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0810
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0710
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0610
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0510
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0410
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0310
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0210
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0110
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM1209
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM1109
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM1009
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0909
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0809
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0709
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0609
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0509
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0409
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0309
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0209
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0109
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/JEDM0908
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com