Saab is to conduct flight tests in 2014 with a new expendable decoy intended to significantly boost the self-protection capabilities of its Gripen fighter.
Unveiled by Selex ES in London on 6 November, the BriteCloud will be released from a standard 55mm flare dispenser, and “decoy radar-guided missiles and fire control radars away from fighter aircraft”, its developer says.
To be used instead of the deployment of a towed decoy or reliance on on-board repeaters, the pre-programmable BriteCloud will use its inbuilt computer to jam ground radars and incoming missiles by generating a false target. Selex, which says it has already proven the technology, claims the technique will result in “large miss distances”, including when used against mobile surface-to-air missile threats.
Now being offered for use with new-build and in-service examples of the Gripen, under a partnering agreement with Saab, the BriteCloud will undergo “a number of qualification missions and flight trials to guarantee full operational capacity”, says Selex. This process will commence in 2014, according to Pete Forrest, vice-president marketing and sales for electronic warfare products.
By partnering on the BriteCloud system, Selex and Saab have strengthened their existing collaboration on the new-generation Gripen E – already selected for the air forces of Sweden and Switzerland. Selex is to provide its ES-05 Raven active electronically scanned array radar for the type – a first test example of which will be flown in 2015. A two-seat demonstrator for the future Gripen has been involved in flight-testing since 2008.
According to Selex, the BriteCloud will later be adapted for use with other flare size formats, and “is expected to be picked up by further platform manufacturers”.