The US Air National Guard (ANG) is to trial Leonardo’s BriteCloud expendable active decoy. Described by the company as a “world-first technology”, the BriteCloud will be evaluated under the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) programme. The trials could ultimately lead to the decoy entering service with the USAF Air Combat Command and other US services.
Leonardo announced the development at the Electronic Warfare Europe conference, taking place in Stockholm from May 13-15.
The mission of the FCT programme is to find, evaluate and field products and technologies produced by US allies, such as the UK, where these products have a high-technology readiness level in order to satisfy valid defence requirements more quickly and economically.
The ANG will lead this FCT by evaluating the BriteCloud as it is launched from countermeasure dispensers installed on ANG aircraft. During the trials, ANG F-16 jets will dispense BriteCloud rounds, demonstrating its potential to enhance F-16 survivability. The BriteCloud will be tested in a variety of scenarios.
BriteCloud is a compact, self-contained radio-frequency (RF) countermeasure system launched by a combat aircraft pilot to defeat attacks from radar-guided missiles. Described as effective against the latest and most-advanced radar-guided threat systems, the BriteCloud provides “an extra layer of survivability for pilots”.
In late 2017, following extensive testing, the UK MOD approved the BriteCloud 55 (named for its compatibility with 55mm flare dispensers such as those on Tornado, Typhoon and Gripen aircraft) for operations and production. First deliveries of BriteCloud by Leonardo to the RAF went into service on board Royal Air Force Tornados in April last year.