Next Generation Chaff: Brite Cloud

Military aircraft - Post cold war aircraft, including for example B-2, Gripen, F-18E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, and Typhoon.
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firstimpulse

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Unread post14 Feb 2017, 06:29

Just when even 4.5 gen fighters were starting to look like sitting ducks to modern IADS and the latest radar guided air to air missiles, this thing shows up...

http://www.leonardocompany.com/en/-/britecloudlaunch

Basically a disposable active jammer/decoy- that's the size of a flare cartridge on a fighter. No idea how they manage to power such a device (capacitor? new battery tech?), but apparently it's designed to competently spoof the most modern SAMs and active radar missiles.

Saab was the launch customer, and is offering them as an option on the Gripen E. Other European forces are already showing interest.

http://www.upi.com/Defense-News/2016/09 ... 474295699/

Interesting tech to make the second line of fighters more survivable.
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popcorn

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Unread post14 Feb 2017, 07:36

It's another tool in the toolbox. It's not like they were sitting ducks before that thingy came along. An ALE-55 would provide a greater range of effects to protect the parent aircraft.
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Unread post14 Feb 2017, 08:59

popcorn wrote:It's another tool in the toolbox. It's not like they were sitting ducks before that thingy came along. An ALE-55 would provide a greater range of effects to protect the parent aircraft.


Very true. IMO, both towed decoy and BriteCloud type expendable decoys would be good combination. BriteCloud would likely be a good system to have in the event the aircraft was targeted and towed decoy is not able to break the radar lock of enemy weapon system (like missile or AAA system). BriteCloud type jammer would complicate the targeting process greatly. Otherwise I think towed decoy would be better due to much better persistance and effective range.
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Unread post14 Feb 2017, 10:52

The ALE-55 offers far more capability than a disposable decoy. It's tied into the aircraft's signals generator so is not limited to what electronics that can be squeezed into a flare-sized cylinder.
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Unread post15 Feb 2017, 10:17

popcorn wrote:The ALE-55 offers far more capability than a disposable decoy. It's tied into the aircraft's signals generator so is not limited to what electronics that can be squeezed into a flare-sized cylinder.


Sure it does and disposable decoy is not really an alternative but rather complementary system mostly to help protect against missiles and missile system tracking radars when engaged. Towed decoy is generally much superior system but disposable decoy can give added protection when last ditch defence is needed. Whether Brite Cloud is good idea depends on how much better it is than old school chaff and how much more expensive it is. I would definitely not give up towed decoy even if Brite Cloud is used.
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Unread post15 Feb 2017, 17:08

I wonder if additional dispensers can be mounted in the F-35's bays to eject out with only the AIM door open (IIRC it's faster)?
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Unread post16 Feb 2017, 18:31

The press release says that these are little DRFM jammers. Isn't AESA supposed to be largely immune to DRFM because of frequency hopping?
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Unread post16 Feb 2017, 20:36

It seems as if the F-35 is a flying sensor platform with excellent legs for such a little jet. EOTS/DAS etc are the lookouts. I'm less familiar with defensive systems but have to believe it's laced with those too. If it's forced to carry a pod, that'll likely affect its RCS figure.

I'd really like to see the evolution of stealthy external stores. Like stealth tanks for the F-22, stealthy AIM-9x's slung under the F-35's wingtips will go a LONG way toward easing the minds of those worrying about the F-35 in classic dogfights.

BACK ON TOPIC: Offensive/Defensive systems are always evolving to meet the threat. So I wonder what it is the AMRAAM will have to do not to fall for this stuff....?
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Unread post16 Feb 2017, 23:14

There is stuff in the general literature about enhancements to make AMRAAM more resistant to jamming.
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Unread post17 Feb 2017, 00:39

So, why not just eject some cheap radar reflector/lenses instead of something active? If the F-22 or F-35 have radar cross sections smaller than a ball baring, shouldn't throwing some out the back work just as well?
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Unread post17 Feb 2017, 07:38

count_to_10 wrote:So, why not just eject some cheap radar reflector/lenses instead of something active? If the F-22 or F-35 have radar cross sections smaller than a ball baring, shouldn't throwing some out the back work just as well?


That stuff already exists and it's called chaff. That works but modern radars can also pretty effectively filter it out. Active decoy systems are much more difficult to handle for the radar system as they can for example mimic the radar signature of real aircraft and create an illusion of moving target. They can also affect larger area and cover the aircraft from directions where chaff is less effective. Being programmable, the response can also be tailored for the threat. Of course the problem is significantly higher cost than chaff has.
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Unread post17 Feb 2017, 07:54

collimatrix wrote:The press release says that these are little DRFM jammers. Isn't AESA supposed to be largely immune to DRFM because of frequency hopping?


These jammers are used against missile seekers and SAM tracking radars and there are very few AESA radars in those. Frequency hopping is not necessarily enough to counter good DRFM system, usually there needs to be other techniques used with it. AESA works so well against DRFM because they can be very adaptive in their operation.

AESA is far more immune to DRFM than other radars, but it'd be possible to make DRFM jammer that works against AESA also. Of course there are then sensor fusion and networking which can be very effective countering any jamming system.
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Unread post18 Feb 2017, 01:16

hornetfinn wrote:
That stuff already exists and it's called chaff. That works but modern radars can also pretty effectively filter it out. Active decoy systems are much more difficult to handle for the radar system as they can for example mimic the radar signature of real aircraft and create an illusion of moving target. They can also affect larger area and cover the aircraft from directions where chaff is less effective. Being programmable, the response can also be tailored for the threat. Of course the problem is significantly higher cost than chaff has.

"Radar signature"? Are you talking about actually reading unique features off of the shape of the returning pulse?
I wouldn't have thought that was possible. If the missile can actually detect the presence of multiple reflection points in the pulse form, and distinguish that from a single point reflector, I could see how an active system might be necessary. Other than that, chaff basically comes to a sudden stop, while a compact reflector would continue forward, making it less distinguishable from the target aircraft in frequency space.
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Unread post20 Feb 2017, 12:17

count_to_10 wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:
That stuff already exists and it's called chaff. That works but modern radars can also pretty effectively filter it out. Active decoy systems are much more difficult to handle for the radar system as they can for example mimic the radar signature of real aircraft and create an illusion of moving target. They can also affect larger area and cover the aircraft from directions where chaff is less effective. Being programmable, the response can also be tailored for the threat. Of course the problem is significantly higher cost than chaff has.

"Radar signature"? Are you talking about actually reading unique features off of the shape of the returning pulse?
I wouldn't have thought that was possible. If the missile can actually detect the presence of multiple reflection points in the pulse form, and distinguish that from a single point reflector, I could see how an active system might be necessary. Other than that, chaff basically comes to a sudden stop, while a compact reflector would continue forward, making it less distinguishable from the target aircraft in frequency space.


No but when DRFM jammer receives radar signal, it sends it back with some modifications to signal. It can try to mimic the radar signature of real target with similar radar signature and similar frequency, amplitdude, phase, doppler and polarization shifts. These things occur when radar signal bounces back from target to radar and radar receives this modified signal. Most basic DRFM systems send the signal back without any modifications, but then it can easily be discarded by the radar as receiving unmodified signal is basically impossible in real world. If the DRFM jammer manages to catch the radar signal fully and can recreate it with realistic modifications to signal, it can be very difficult for the radar to distinguish them from real target returns. Those jammers could simply flood the radar receiver with target returns with pretty realistic characteristics which might overwhelm it long enough for the aircraft to escape.

It could also mimic target movement with Range Gate Pull-Off (RGPO) or even Range Gate Pull-In (RPGI) jamming. The jammer would create a target which seems to be moving away or towards the radar in that case. It basically either transmits radar signal with incrementally increasing delay in transmitting the radar signal back (RPGO) or transmits the radar signal back before next expected radar signal is received. Neither would likely work well with modern radars, but might work well enough against even modern missile seekers or tracking radars in SAM/AAA systems. The physical movement of such disposable decoys is likely not going to matter that much as they'd quickly be decelerating. It could create an impression of target which turn away or toward the radar and turning towards ground. This would likely also be reflected in defensive maneuvering by the aircraft.

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