THE UK MINISTRY of Defence (MoD) has revealed that the Royal Air Force is deploying radar decoys on board Panavia Tornado F3 interceptor aircraft operating over Bosnia.

The decoys, developed by Marconi Defence Systems, are believed to be housed in modified Boz chaff/flare pods. The MoD also intends to procure additional decoys for "a number of types of fast jet aircraft". This follows the successful use of this system on Tornado F3s."

The unit operates using a techniques generator as a decoy for the missile's radar seeker. The variant deployed on the F3 is thought to be optimised for countering semi-active missiles such as Russia's Vympel R-27 (AA-10 Alamo).

Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrum aircraft of the former Yugoslavian air force were armed with R-27s.

The towed-decoy requirement may have originated over concerns that Russia was developing a passive variant of the AA-10 Alamo, which homed in on the emissions of an air-intercept radar. In this case, the decoy would have emulated the parent aircraft's radar.

A passive variant of the Alamo is used by the Russian air force.

Deployment of the radar decoy was revealed by the MoD in its Statement on the Defence Estimates 1995. It claims that funding for the purchase of additional radar decoys has become available through savings gained from the Defence Cost Study.

The RAF will also procure an unspecified number of photo reconnaissance pods, for its Tornado GR1s, says the statement.

In response to the growing demand for tri-service out-of-area operations, the MoD is to establish a permanent headquarters for joint operations at Northwood from April 1996.

The statement also reveals further slippages in the Army's next generation air-defence systems. In-service dates for the British Aerospace Rapier Field Standard C fire units and Shorts Starstreak short-range surface-to-air missile projects have slipped to 1996.

The in-service date of the EASAMS-developed air-defence command and control information system has also been pushed back to 1996.

Source: Flight International