The Ministry of Defence has placed a £2.5 million order for UK-designed and built miniature decoys which will help to protect combat jets from missiles.

The cutting-edge BriteCloud system, designed and manufactured in Bedfordshire and Scotland by Leonardo-Finmeccanica, will undergo flight trials on RAF Tornado aircraft later this year.

BriteCloud, which is similar in size and appearance to a beverage can, can be fired from an aircraft’s flare dispenser without the need for modification to the aircraft. Once deployed, it uses powerful radar emissions to disrupt systems within radar-guided air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles.

A pilot can launch the compact unit, which is packed with advanced electronics, to confuse an attacking missile, drawing it away to a point where it no longer poses a threat.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

“The cutting-edge technology behind BriteCloud demonstrates the MOD’s commitment to harnessing and growing the incredible creativity in our Defence supply chain.

Supported by our £178 billion investment in equipment, these new decoy systems show that we are continually pushing the boundaries of innovation, making the most of Great British skills and brains to keep our Armed Forces safe from our adversaries.”

Chief Executive Officer at the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation, Tony Douglas said:

“The development of BriteCloud has only recently been made possible after many years of advances in technology, and shows how UK Defence, in partnership with industry, is leading the charge when it comes to research and development.

Flight trials planned for later this year will test the system’s effectiveness against a wide range of current and potential threats, helping to ensure that UK pilots have the tools they need to successfully complete their missions wherever they are in the world.”

The MoD has been working with Leonardo-Finmeccanica to develop the BriteCloud system since 2012. The project is sustaining around 25 design jobs at the company’s Edinburgh and Luton sites.

Other companies in the supply chain include Chemring, based in Whiteley, Hampshire, and QinetiQ, based in Farnborough, Hampshire, and Boscombe Down, Wiltshire.

To date, the MoD has invested around £25 million in the BriteCloud system through a project commissioned by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and managed by Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S).

This new £2.5 million batch order will allow the RAF to explore how BriteCloud could best be deployed operationally. If successful, the system could be available for Tornado aircraft operations by mid-2017.

Wing Commander Matthew Tandy, Protection of Air Operations Desk Officer for the Royal Air Force said:

“BriteCloud is much easier to install on a variety of aircraft than previous bulkier decoy systems, because it can be used from existing countermeasure dispensers such as flare launchers.

Although the devices are highly advanced, they are straightforward to use. They can be easily re-programmed during operations to defeat new threats as they are encountered, giving the RAF an important advantage in engagements.”



  1. Fantastic news “well done”

    What’s pissing me off at the minute is the US’s aid package to Israel consisting of $30 Billion over ten years. Make no mistake wherever the next war is the UK will be by the US’s side, where will Israel be?

    I get that part of the aid package is to get first dibs on Israeli made tech, hence why this deal went through but why can’t the UK get such a deal with the US being it’s closest ally and tier 1 partner?

    I’m bemused, esp after years of criticism from US government regarding our cuts.

    • There are those who wouldn’t be too keen on the idea of the UK receiving an ‘aid package’ for no apparent reason. We’re a prosperous nation not a charity case.

      The friendship should be reflected in trade deals and partnership for joint benefit, sometimes swaying more in each others favour from time to time. IE. We give you our old harriers for almost nothing… you put the European HUB for the F-35 in Italy.


  2. Guys, the point being is, we are more likely to join the US in conflict than Israel while they plead vulnerability. They are getting $3 Billion a year for ten years. Can you imagine what such aid package would do for our armed forces?

    I see no shame in taking aid from the US as our closest military partner. Remember the pounding our government got for the SDR of 2010 and how we continue to be slaughtered for lack of capability now.

    I don’t know why the media and public are not all over this.

    Can you imagined if the top brass decided to sell the Prince of Wales because it never had the funds to operate him? yet the US can place demands on us and we don’t have a necessary back up of our own?

    Did any of you see the footage of Iran showing off it’s elite soldiers and missile tech on sky news because of this deal?

    I know the MOD will keep the two carriers but any aid package imho would be welcomed.

    Our forces are below 80K and only now we are seeing increased spending.

    Scary times ahead i’m afraid. i’m surprised none of you are unhappy about this.

    • Plenty of us are unhappy with the way things have gone. I’d imagine most of the people who frequent this website would like an increase in defence spending.

      I don’t see a gift package from the US as a solution, though. It would be humiliating beyond repair. Both the problem with the defence spending in this country and the solution to it come from within.

      Also… operate ‘him’? It brings some pretty hilarious images into my head, but ‘she’ is coming along nicely.

  3. US financial military aid to Israel on a large scale has been going on for over a decade. In the early 2000s I sold stuff to the Israeli military and security services (as well as many other governments and corporations around Europe & the Middle East). On getting close to closing one major deal I was told by the person I was dealing with in Israel “see if you can get your product approved for foreign military funding because for every $1 of local budget that I have to spend I have $10 of US funds”. I was able to get my product accepted as sufficiently US in origin to qualify for the funding (that was the condition, the funds could only be spent on products with predominantly US content). Once qualified as a US-funded project I then had to do final price negotiations with a very guy (Israeli) based in the Israeli embassy in New York and the official delivery address where the product (software in my case) was shipped to was a warehouse in New Jersey for onward transportation to Israel.

    • Because of Israel’s political situation in the middle east it’s very unlikely that they’ll see large scale conflict for a long time despite having already one of the greater and technological advanced militaries in the region if not the world.

      The aid deal past and present don’t sit with me. I’m passionate about the UK and think all these cuts we made were unnecessary at a time when the US was handing out big money to a country that probably won’t see conflict outside it’s own boarders.

  4. I see that the MoD is getting back onto the “178 billion budget” message after spending a whole 2.5 million. That’s 0.0014% of the budget. Wow.

    So how about ordering some warships or fighter/bombers or tanks? I don’t think any have been ordered since Cameron came into power i.e. since 2010.

  5. “BriteCloud, which is similar in size and appearance to a beverage can…”

    Really tiny then. I wonder whether, when we get our new Predator Bs with extra hardpoints and heavier payload capacity, it would make sense to incorporate a launcher for these to increase survivability a bit when not in totally friendly airspace. That would assume Pretator B will have the sensors to know whether something has locked on to it – not sure if it will or not.

  6. This is a really interesting capability actually. I saw a video about a year ago but thought it was “pie in the sky” thinking. But there you go !

    Making it compatable to standard decoy launchers is just a great move. This should keep us ahead of the curve on missile vs decoy and save a shed load of money in the long run.

    Does anyone have a ball park comparison between this decoy and the towed decoy on typhoon, or the “siren” system on RN vessels ?



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