Leonardo is to partner with the British Royal Air Force's (RAF) Rapid Capability Office (RCO) to develop third-generation missile-jamming decoys for use on the RAF fighter aircraft.
The RCO has been recently established to quickly bring new technologies and capabilities to the warfighter, Leonardo stated.
Leonardo is the first company to sign up as a partner for the RCO’s maiden joint project and will develop new fighter jet countermeasures known as ‘expendable active decoys’ (EADs).
The new EADs will be built for the RAF's fighter jets using Leonardo’s BriteCloud EAD technology.
The BriteCloud radar-jamming decoy can be deployed from a standard chaff and flare dispenser to protect aircraft from radar-guided missiles.
The incoming missile is drawn to the BriteCloud and misses the aircraft by a large margin, according to the statement.
The RAF has already procured BriteCloud decoys and successfully conducted launch tests from Tornado GR4 aircraft against a range of simulated threats featuring real radar systems in March last year.
During the trials, the decoys automatically detected threat radars and jammed them with the decoy's embedded digital radio frequency memory jammer.
The tests demonstrated BriteCloud's effectiveness against modern threats that could be encountered by pilots.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has already invested around £25m in the BriteCloud EAD technology through research undertaken by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), flight trial-based demonstration of the EAD using an RAF Tornado aircraft in 2015, and further flight trials conducted earlier this year.
Image: Leonardo’s BriteCloud expendable decoy. Photo: courtesy of Leonardo, Società per azioni.