Electronic warfare companies and government agencies have more recently unveiled the development of active deployable RF decoys, marking a return to a concept which was launched towards the end of the Cold War, but introducing fiber-optic towed decoys (FOTDs
) as exemplified by the American BAE Systems ALE-55 and the Rafale X-Guard, the Selex ES Ariel, the Cassidian Sky Buzzer and more recently the BAE Systems ALE-70 FTOD.
The contract award includes associated technical support and recurring engineering efforts associated with the order, as well as the manufacture of EFCs and FOTDs
Under Phase 1 of the LRIP, the Information & Electronic Systems (IEWS) business unit of BAE Systems North America will deliver six onboard systems, 30 fiber optic towed decoys (FOTDs
) and spares.
have the advantage over conventional decoy systems by their luring missiles to a greater distance from their targets.
Incorporating on-board receivers and off-board countermeasures, including the high-powered FOTD
and deployment canister, the Idecm is scheduled for deployment on Boeing's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F-15 Eagle aircraft.
"We have had experience with schedule delays on the program, and we're attributing them primarily but not solely to the ALE-55 FOTD
," said Lt Col Pete Knudsen, the USAF's DSUP program manager.
This latest test was an operational assessment of the ability of the FOTD
"to identify, prioritize and respond to a selected subset of threats using the preprogrammed EW techniques," explained CDR Scott Howe, the Navy's deputy program manager for IDECM.
In the IDECM program, developers did not deem it efficient to rip out the ALQ-135-based system; rather, it was augmented with the FOTD
, which is essentially a towed antenna.
A derivative of the Airborne Self-Protection Jammer (ASPJ) would provide the active RF countermeasures, along with a fiber-optic towed decoy (FOTD
) -- either the Sanders (Nashua, NH) FOTD
, which is part of the current IDECM RFCM program, or a fiber-optic variant of the Raytheon (Goleta, CA) AN/ALE-50 decoy.
Instead, the Navy selected the Sanders AN/ALE-55 Fiber-Optic Towed Decoy (FOTD
), the ALE-50's chief US rival.
A recent series of successes in the problem-, cost- and delay-plagued AN/ALQ-214 Integrated Defensive Electronics Countermeasures (IDECM) Radio Frequency Countermeasures (RFCM) system, with its AN/ALE-55 Fiber-Optic Towed Decoy (FOTD
), has senior military and industry executives breathing more easily these days.
* Lockheed Sanders'(Nashua, NH) Fiber Optic Towed Decoy (FOTD
), the off-board component of the Integrated Defensive Electronics Countermeasures (IDECM) being developed for the US Navy.