Tests of the Elta/Raytheon SafeFlight missile countermeasures system is to begin in early 2004, says the Israeli-US alliance. The main aim of the tests is to prove that its pyrophoric "flares" are capable of creating false targets for a shoulder launched missile like the SA-7.

Israeli company Elta provides a doppler radar while Raytheon provides the other components and advanced pyrophoric flares. Due to opposition to normal flares, the companies chose the pyrophoric type that creates heat spots without visible burning, and claim they are environmentally neutral. Sources close to the programme say that the flares will be spring-ejected. Elta's teaming with Raytheon is mainly aimed at facilitating US certification.

On detecting an incoming missile SafeFlight autonomously ejects a flares to divert it from the targeted aircraft.

Flight International's missile countermeasures conference takes place in Washington DC on 28 January: see inside front cover.

Source: Flight International