BAE Systems has secured a $36.7 million contract from the U.S. Navy to build advanced dual-band fiber-optic drag-type decoy (FOTD) to protect military aircraft from missile attacks, foreign media New Atlas reported. The torpedo-shaped two-band bait is designed to be equipped with fighter jets, bombers and means of transport to interfere with or confuse missile radar systems.
Since their first development, there has been an “arms race” between radar targeting systems and means of dealing with them. This is particularly important in the missile field, where the missile can approach the target at supersonic speeds and can cause significant damage even if the warhead cannot explode during impact.
BAE Systems’ new FOTD is one of the radar countermeasures. The company is developing dual-band baits for the Navy based on the company’s AN/ALE-55 FOTD, which has built 3,000 and has served in the US Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force and the Saudi Royal Air Force.
The dual-band bait consists of a can-drag unit that is connected to the on-board electronic warfare equipment on the aircraft via a fiber optic cable. They can operate either with the aircraft’s own systems or independently.
In missile attacks, two-band decoy has three ways to deal with it. The first method is to detect the radar signal of the incoming missile, analyze it, and then block it to prevent the target from being targeted. If this does not work and the missile is locked, the second response is to use multiple selective interference signals to break the lock. If that doesn’t work, the third option takes effect, and the bait tries to “spoof” the missile by combining interference with a false signal that mimics the aircraft’s radar signal.
Tom McCarthy, director of BAE Systems’ dual-band baiting program, said: “Our towing bait allows pilots to perform missions in competitive airspace. The ALE-55 FOTD is a reliable high-power interference system that has successfully performed several years of mission on F/A-18E/F and has conducted extensive flight testing on a wide range of aircraft. Under this new dual-band baiting contract, our focus will be on building on the reliability of the ALE-55 to overcome future threats. “