The RAF has undertaken trials of the BriteCloud missile decoy system on Typhoon jets.
Speaking at the Typhoon Ministerial Meeting in Germany, Defence Minister Stuart Andrew announced the beginning of a series of capability tests of BriteCloud, a drinks-can sized missile decoy to protect combat jets from the latest radar-guided missiles.
BriteCloud is a compact, self-contained radio-frequency (RF) countermeasure system that is launched by a combat aircraft pilot to defeat attacks from radar-guided missiles.
Defence Minister Stuart Andrew said:
“Britecloud offers the RAF a powerful and cost-effective way to keep our pilots safer than ever on the frontline. These trials show UK industry is once again at the heart of defence innovation, providing our Armed Forces with state-of-the-art capabilities and creating high-tech jobs across the country.”
The first Britecould trial with Typhoon aircraft took place in the UK in April. Thirty three BriteCloud 55 rounds were dispensed from aircraft flown by the RAF’s 41 Test and Evaluation Squadron against a range of threats designed to mirror those faced on the battlefield.
The Ministry of Defence say that further trials are planned to ensure the decoy launches safely from the aircraft and to develop a range of operational uses for the technology on the battlefield, including adding the devices to military helicopters and C-130 Hercules aircraft.
The RAF say that Typhoon trials will also inform how such decoys could be used on the Lightning jets.
“Effective against the latest and most-advanced radar-guided threat systems, BriteCloud provides an extra layer of survivability for pilots. By completely separating from its host aircraft and falling away, the decoy improves aircraft survivability by guiding the incoming missile away from the aircraft”, according to Leonardo.
In late 2017, following extensive testing, the 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.
Sir Simon Bollom, CEO of the MOD’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation, said:
“Our ongoing partnership with Leonardo continues to drive vital research and development that leads to the kind of innovation demanded by our RAF today. The trials of BriteCloud on Typhoon demonstrates how we are constantly striving to find a technological edge and protect our service personnel.”