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Franco Lolan
11 Aug 05,, 23:52
http://www.defencetalk.com/news/publish/article_002865.php

Test of the AN/ALE-55 Fibre Optic Towed Decoy (FOTD) on F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet Successfull
BAE Systems
Tue, 9 Aug 2005, 09:23

BAE Systems and the U.S. Navy have successfully completed development testing of the AN/ALE-55 Fibre Optic Towed Decoy (FOTD) on the Navy’s F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet.

The Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures (IDECM) Block 3 program, which includes the AN/ALE-55 FOTD, will now begin formal development and operational testing. A contract award for the Low Rate Initial Production of the ALE-55 is planned for early 2006. Contract award for Full Rate Production is expected to follow the successful completion of Operational Evaluation.

“The ALE-55 development program will bring the Super Hornet superior RF self-protection capabilities for many years to come,” said Captain Dwight Cousins, U.S. Navy program manager, “The Navy and BAE Systems team met demanding requirements in completing this development program.” dt

During the flight tests, conducted at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, the FOTD was subjected to more than 60 risk reduction flights to test the safe employment, endurance, and reliability of the FOTD under simulated combat maneuvers.

“The ALE-55 FOTD is the first fibre optic decoy ready now to protect Navy and Air Force pilots,” said Joe Mancini, BAE Systems’ AN/ALE-55 program manager in Nashua, New Hampshire. “The team has completed technology breakthroughs in performance and has greatly reduced unit production baseline costs.”

The BAE Systems’ ALE-55 FOTD is an integral component of the joint U.S. Navy – U.S. Air Force IDECM Radio Frequency Countermeasures (RFCM) system.

The ALE-55 FOTD system includes a high-power FOTD and deployment canister. Currently, the ALE-55 is slated for deployment on the F/A-18E/F aircraft.


BAE Systems has major operations across five continents and customers in some 130 countries. The company employs nearly 100,000 people and generates annual sales of approximately $25 billion through its wholly owned and joint-venture operations.



What exactly is it and how does it work? I searched but did not come up with substantive information. What other aircraft have decoys?

Bill
12 Aug 05,, 00:29
The F-15 has been using a towed array jammer for years(since before the 1st gulf war as a matter of fact).

Radial Arm
12 Aug 05,, 00:47
The F-15 has been using a towed array jammer for years(since before the 1st gulf war as a matter of fact).

B1B Lancer employs the ALE-50, a towed decoy, to counter radar guided surface to air and air to air missiles. I presume this system was a predesessor of the ALE-55 in the article. This system, coupled with ALQ-161(electronic jamming), the planes relativley small RCS, and it's low altitude/high speed capability make the Lancer a tremendously survivable bomber.

In Kosovo, a theatre that had sophisticated air defences (at the outset at least), the B1B succesfully completed 100 or 100 missions, and delivered 20% of bombs dropped in the conflict.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/systems/b-1b-unit.htm

I'm a big fan of the Lancer. 1 Lancer = $283 million versus $2.2 billion for a B2. We could have nearly 8 lancers for each B2!

Reference for ALE-50:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/systems/an-ale-50.htm

Asim Aquil
12 Aug 05,, 01:30
Towed Decoy? Ok I've played my share of flight sims, is it a small object released from an F-18 and tied to it by a long rope or something? So that an incomming missle hits the smaller object instead of the plane?

Radial Arm
12 Aug 05,, 02:48
Towed Decoy? Ok I've played my share of flight sims, is it a small object released from an F-18 and tied to it by a long rope or something? So that an incomming missle hits the smaller object instead of the plane?

Yes, the decoy is towed behind the aircraft by a cable and it is severed before landing. I believe it works by creating an attractive target for a radar guided missile. Whereas the aircraft is designed to mitigate its radare signature, the decoy is designed to create a large one (i.e. lots of 90 degree angles etc.) Not positive about this though.

Asim Aquil
12 Aug 05,, 03:27
Awesome. Sounds very crude, but I think it must be very effective at the same time.

Unipidity
12 Aug 05,, 07:52
Like, say, a noisemaker for subs. But not, I think, a LEMOSS or whatever the acronym is. ie its supposed to be a bloody great radar target, not an accurate replica of the towing aircraft.

hello
13 Aug 05,, 05:02
Yes, the decoy is towed behind the aircraft by a cable and it is severed before landing. I believe it works by creating an attractive target for a radar guided missile. Whereas the aircraft is designed to mitigate its radare signature, the decoy is designed to create a large one (i.e. lots of 90 degree angles etc.) Not positive about this though.

This would be useless in a stealth aircraft. Obviously.