Towed Dual-Band Decoy for Aircraft Protection from Radar-Guided Missiles

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May 27, 2019 | Originally published by Date Line: May 27 on

Navy asks BAE Systems to demonstrate electronic warfare (EW) dual-band towed decoy capability to protect combat aircraft from new radar-guided missiles.

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. – Electronic warfare (EW) experts at BAE Systems will demonstrate a new dual-band towed decoy to help U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F jet fighter-bomber pilots avoid modern sophisticated enemy radar-guided anti-aircraft missiles.

Officials of the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., announced a $36.7 million contract Thursday to the BAE Systems Electronic Systems segment in Nashua, N.H., to develop and demonstrate dual-band decoy (DBD) capability to provide off-board countermeasures protection for the F/A-18E/F.

The DBD towed decoy project, launched last June, seeks to meet an urgent Navy need to protect crews of area-penetrating attack jets like the F/A-18E/F from enemy radar-guided missiles that operate on two separate frequencies, such as X-band and S-band.

Dual-band radar is particularly difficult to jam, and poses a serious threat to U.S. aircraft that must operate in contested airspace. A towed decoy trails behind the aircraft on a tether to draw the attention of enemy missiles and protect the aircraft from being hit.

The DBD program is intended as a replacement for the ALE-55 round assembly (T-1622/ALE-55(V)) and ALE-50 advanced airborne expendable decoy (AAED) (RT-1646E/ALE) deployed today onboard the F/A-18E/F to protect the aircraft from radar-guided missiles.