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The Bundeswehr succeeded in a test in which a decoy was dropped by a target drone (Remotely Piloted Air Target System - RPATS) in order to demonstrate its ability to protect airborne weapon systems against radar-guided missiles. In the attempt with a sharp decoys missiles could be successfully deflected with Semi-Active Radar (SAR) seeker technology.

The BriteCloud 218 system from Leonardo, designed for this purpose, sends out powerful radio emissions from a standard dispenser, which simulate the target of the missile and allow it to recognize the decoys instead of the aircraft as the target. Leonardo has so far been the only company that has succeeded in implementing this flare technology on a flare decoy size.

The German attempt was the first in which BriteCloud was launched from a target drone. The decoy does not require any integration and is therefore a cost-effective way of equipping flying systems with the latest generation of jammers, which are much more effective than conventional chaff (radar-reflecting foil); the on-board computer uses the latest EloKa technology to protect against modern threats.

The variant of the decoy BriteCloud 218 used for the experiment implements this technology in the form of a rectangular decoy in standard size (2 x 1 x 8 inches), which means that it is compatible with a number of popular dispensers such as the AN / ALE-47. This can improve the protection of older F-series jets such as the F-15 and F-16 as well as smaller RPAS platforms at low cost.

BriteCloud 218 is currently going through the FCT (Foreign Comparative Testing) program of the US Air National Guard (ANG) with a view to possible future use of US Air Force combat aircraft. It is based on the BriteCloud 55, which is slightly larger and compatible with round 55mm flare dispensers such as those of the Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab Gripen and has already been put into service by the British Royal Air Force.

Rolf Clement