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27 mars 2015 5 27 /03 /mars /2015 12:20
RCAF Chinooks to be outfitted with missile defence system

Canada's new CH-147F Chinook medium- to heavy-lift helicopter makes its way from the nation's capital, up the Ottawa valley to its new home at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, Ont., on June 27, 2013. Canada and the RCAF have purchased 15 of these Boeing helicopters. PHOTO: Cpl Darcy Lefebvre


March 25, 2015 David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen


The RCAF’s new Chinook helicopters will be outfitted with a missile protection system built by Northrop Grumman Corporation.


As part of the advanced aircraft survivability equipment suite, the latest generation directional infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) system protects the Chinook and its crew by automatically detecting a missile launch, determining if it is a threat and activating a high-intensity, laser-based countermeasure system to track and defeat the missile, the U.S. firm stated in a news release.


Northrop Grumman’s various infrared countermeasure systems are now installed or scheduled for installation on more than 1,000 military aircraft around the world to protect 55 different types of large fixed-wing transports and rotary-wing platforms from infrared missile attacks, the firm noted.


No details were provided on the value of the contract or when the systems would be delivered.

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17 novembre 2014 1 17 /11 /novembre /2014 17:50
German A400Ms to get J-Music DIRCM


Nov. 17, 2014 by Arie Egozi – FG


The German air force’s Airbus A400M transports are to be equipped with the J-Music mutli-spectral directed infrared countermeasure (DIRCM) system by Elbit Systems.


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J-Music System - photo Elbit Systems

J-Music System - photo Elbit Systems

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11 avril 2014 5 11 /04 /avril /2014 16:50
Evaluation réussie pour le système de brouillage laser Miysis



11.04.2014 Helen Chachaty journal-aviation.com


Nom de code : Miysis. Une « boîte » carrée d’une quinzaine de kilos au nom d’un dieu guerrier égyptien, embarquée à bord d’un CASA C212 banc d’essais de la DGA lors de l’exercice OTAN EMBOW XIV qui s’est tenu dans les Landes au mois de mars.


Fonction : DIRCM, pour Directional infrared counter measure. Soit un système de brouillage laser qui devrait à terme être utilisé en complémentarité du leurrage.


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7 avril 2014 1 07 /04 /avril /2014 11:50
Selex ES Miysis DIRCM sees success in NATO Trial



Apr 7, 2014 ASDNews Source : Selex ES


The Miysis Directed Infrared Countermeasure (DIRCM) system developed Selex ES, a Finmeccanica company, was successfully demonstrated in March 2014 as part of NATO Trial EMBOW XIV.


During the flight trial, witnessed by 100 multi-national VIPs, the Miysis DIRCM system autonomously acquired, tracked and jammed the trial test equipment on the ground. Initial assessment of the results indicates that the Miysis DIRCM has the capability to jam Generation 1, 2 and 3 Man Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS) using NATO jam codes. Trial EMBOW XIV was conducted at Biscarrosse in France and the Miysis was installed on a French Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) CASA-212 aircraft. The DIRCM trial was assisted by Airbus D&S, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the UK MoD. Prior to and during EMBOW XIV, the UK MoD worked closely with Selex ES and provided them with substantial support.


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31 janvier 2014 5 31 /01 /janvier /2014 18:30
Photo Assaf Shilo - Israel Sun

Photo Assaf Shilo - Israel Sun


31.01.2014 Romain Guillot - journal-aviation.com


Le système de protection antimissile israélien C-MUSIC est discrètement entré en service fin janvier sur un Boeing 737-800 de la compagnie El Al. Produit par l’industriel israélien Elbit, le système avait été installé sur l’appareil en juin, mais n’avait pas été activé.


C-MUSIC (Commercial Multi-Spectral Infrared Countermeasure) comprend un détecteur couplé à une tourelle DIRCM (Directional Infrared Counter Measures) qui aveugle les têtes chercheuses des missiles de type MANPADS, le tout logé dans un carénage ventral. Le système pèse 160 kg.


Le système C-MUSIC a été choisi par le gouvernement israélien pour protéger l’intégralité de la flotte d’avions commerciaux du pays suite à la tentative d’attentat survenu sur un Boeing 757-300 de la compagnie Arkia en 2002 à Mombasa (Kenya). Deux missiles air-sol de type SA-7 avaient, fort heureusement, raté de peu l’appareil quelques secondes après son décollage. Tous les appareils de plus de 100 places opérés par les compagnies israéliennes El Al, Arkia et Israir seront ainsi équipés.


La division Elop d’Elbit commercialise également depuis quelques mois un système similaire baptisé Mini-MUSIC et destiné à la protection des hélicoptères.

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17 septembre 2013 2 17 /09 /septembre /2013 12:20
Northrop Unveils F-35 Missile Protection System

ThNDR and Lightning: Northrop's ThNDR system is designed to protect the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter from enemy missiles. (Northrop)


Sep. 16, 2013 - By AARON MEHTA – Defense News


WASHINGTON — Northrop Grumman on Thursday unveiled a new anti-missile laser protection system designed for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in Washington.


The Threat Nullification Defensive Resource — ThNDR for short, to compliment the F-35’s “Lightning” designation — is a progression from Northrop’s directional infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) family of systems.


DIRCM works by sensing by intercepting an incoming missile with a laser that confuses the seeker head on the weapon, causing it to lose track of the aircraft. The system has been highly successful, with installation on over 50 different platforms, but had yet to be mounted on a fighter jet in large part due to the challenge of getting a system to work with the tight turns and high speeds that pilots would be required to make in a combat situation.


Although not yet part of the F-35 program, Northrop is confident the Pentagon wants to incorporate some form of missile-protection into its fifth-generation fighter.


“We know that requirement does exist and it is on its way,” said Jeffrey Palombo, Northrop’s sector vice president and general manager for the Land and Self-Protection Systems Division. In an attempt to get ahead of potential competition, the company self-funded the research and design of ThNDR.


ThNDR was designed to meet specific size limitations for the F-35. It will be nestled next to the distributed aperture system (DAS), also designed by Northrop, and tap into the cooling system already in the fighter. Each jet will get a pair of systems, one on the top of the plane and one on the bottom, to create 360-degree coverage against threats.


A major feature of the F-35 is its low-observable design, vital to its stealth capabilities. Anything sticking off the plane could threaten those stealth characteristics, so ThNDR will be installed inside the jet, with a window cut out to allow the lasers to operate.


The company expects the requirement for a missile defense system to be included in the Block 5 upgrade, in the 2017 time frame, and be available for all domestic and international customers. “There’s no reason at all that it can’t be retrofitted” into an already-produced F-35, Palombo said, although he declined to go into details on what that might look like.


The system still has a way to go before completion, with testing planned in Northrop’s laboratories before the end of the year. While no requirement has been issued, Carl Smith, vice president of Infrared Countermeasures, said the company is keeping in touch with the F-35 Joint Program Office.


“We go talk with them periodically,” Smith said. “We share what our progress is. There’s obviously dialogue with Lockheed Martin. We keep everybody abreast of where we are and what’s happening. “


While designed for the F-35, Palombo said the company expects other fighters, such as the F-15, to eventually include a requirement for a DIRCM system.


“It’s really a fast jet capability,” Palombo said. “Look at the fact there aren’t going to be many new starts for airplanes. We’re going to be flying F-22s, F-16s, F-15s for a very long time, and they’re going to have to be protected, as well.”


The system could be mounted into the bottom of the airplane, or reconfigured to fit into a self-contained pod that can be attached to the bottom of a jet. It would also have the option to be liquid or air-cooled.


“We believe [the F-35 is] probably the first actual requirement proposal that will be coming down the pike,” Palombo reiterated. “It is very likely there will be others, either in parallel with that or immediately following that.”


Northrop executives describe ThNDR as a “sixth-generation” system, and the company is keeping an eye on what a seventh-gen system might look like. Smith, at least, believes that would likely involve higher-powered lasers in the “tens of kilowatts of energy.”

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25 mars 2013 1 25 /03 /mars /2013 17:50

C-27J – photo1 Alenia Aermacchi

Italian air force types including the C-27J will receive

ELT-572 DIRCM installations


Mar. 25, 2013 by Arie Egozi – FG


Tel Aviv - Work to install Elbit Systems C-Music directed infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) equipment on several Italian air force types is to begin soon, under the terms of a $15 million contract awarded to industry partner Elettronica in 2011.


Dan Slasky, vice-president of airborne electro-optics and laser systems at Elbit's Elop division, says the Italian air force will first install Elettronica's ELT-572 self-protection system onto its Lockheed Martin C-130J and Alenia Aermacchi C-27 tactical transports and AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters.


The integration work is to begin following a series of "very successful" tests performed by the Italian air force, Slasky adds.


Based on the use of advanced fibre laser technology, the Music system counters man-portable air defence systems by emitting a laser beam towards an approaching missile's seeker head, causing it to veer off course. Elbit says the open-architecture technology can be installed on any type of aircraft, with existing customers including operators of military, commercial and VIP-transport aircraft.


"There is a growing demand for the systems for protecting cargo and aerial refuelling aircraft. Each month we respond to at least one request for proposals," Slasky says, citing a "real and imminent" threat posed by shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles. However, integrating such equipment with commercial airliners remains a "complex issue", he adds.


Slasky also reveals that negotiations are taking place about potentially installing Music-series countermeasures equipment on aircraft for four Boeing customers. The US airframer and Elbit earlier this year signed a collaboration agreement enabling the former to offer different versions of the DIRCM technology with its fixed-wing and helicopter product ranges.


Boeing's Military Aircraft and Network & Space Systems organisations are working together to integrate the systems on to new and existing aircraft, as well as providing signature analysis and end-to-end services and support for the equipment.

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17 novembre 2011 4 17 /11 /novembre /2011 08:45
NATO Embow XIII: learning how to deal with the Manpads threat


27th Oct 2011 By Jean-Michel Guhl in Cazaux, France - defencereviewasia.com


ONE of the most present and most concealed threats on the battlefield remains the shoulder-launched surface to air missile or Manpads – an abbreviation of man-portable air defence system. A light affordable and plentiful weapon with a low acquisition cost, it is also a war tool that outweighs by multiples the price of its likely target - a tactical fighter plane, helicopter or even a multi-engined airlifter. Intended for air defence by the military, Manpads have also unfortunately over the years landed in the hands of uncontrolled groups or terrorist organisations, accounting for some dramatic deadly attacks on civilian transport aircraft as well.


ONE of the most present and most concealed threats on the battlefield remains the shoulder-launched surface to air missile or Manpads – an abbreviation of man-portable air defence system. A light affordable and plentiful weapon with a low acquisition cost, it is also a war tool that outweighs by multiples the price of its likely target - a tactical fighter plane, helicopter or even a multi-engined airlifter. Intended for air defence by the military, Manpads have also unfortunately over the years landed in the hands of uncontrolled groups or terrorist organisations, accounting for some dramatic deadly attacks on civilian transport aircraft as well.


During the Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979-1989), thousands of US-made FIM-92 Stinger shoulder-launched missiles were supplied, by the CIA via Pakistan, to the Mujahideen, along with British-made Blowpipes, older US FIM-43 Redeyes, and even Egyptian (Ayn-as-Sakr - Falcon Eye) and Chinese (HN-5) copies of the infamous Soviet 9K32M Strela (NATO SA-7b) Manpads!


These 10-kg missiles, capable of reaching Mach 2 in 5 seconds and with an average lethal range of just a few kilometres, were responsible for the destruction of many Soviet airlifters, as well as transport and attack helicopters. Only dedicated “shturmovik” fighter-bombers like the Su-25 “Frogfoot” and Su-22 “Fitter” fared much better, in general, thanks to their extremely sturdy airframe construction. From experience gained in that war and in peacetime exercises prior to 1994, the Soviets found that the best way for a group of gunships to survive their own attack run was to fly at extremely low altitudes towards the target and then split up, approaching it from different directions. After making their attacks, the helicopters would make a break-off turn and depart at extremely low altitudes, their wingmen providing mutual covering fire and all of them making full use of their electronic warfare equipment (decoy flares and IR jammers). Most of these techniques have also been adopted in the West. Just as a reminder: 333 airplanes and helicopters were lost by the Soviets to Manpads during their war 25 years ago.


Combating the Manpads threat has gained in importance in recent times with the use of countermeasures using various techniques. IRCM systems are designed to defeat both surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles by detecting the ultraviolet (UV) or infrared (IR) radiation from the missile exhaust trail and then initiating responses. Counter-measures include both flares – which are designed to give the missile a decoy target – and laser jammers – which cause missile guidance systems to abruptly steer away from the target aircraft.


In order to tackle the lingering Manpads menace as a whole, and with the Soviet tactical experience in mind, NATO has been organising every other year in Europe, since 1991, a series of two live exercises designated MACE and Embow. If MACE caters in priority with more expensive electromagnetic (EM) self-defence systems, Embow focuses only on ways to counter heat-seeking (IR) missiles fired from the ground.


Embow XIII in Cazaux air base


A total of sixteen nations participated in the 13th venue of Embow in 2011. The event took place at Cazaux, in France, and saw the attendance of participants from: Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Norway, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Turkey, UK, US, with Australia and New Zealand joining as longtime faithful allies of NATO from “down-under”. Aircraft involved were varied, ranging from fighter-bombers to attack helicopters, and from transport helicopters to big airlifters like the C-130 Hercules.


Orchestrated by NATO’s SG2/Aerospace Capability Group 3 on “Electronic Warfare and Survivability”, the main aim of Embow is to allow aviators to test, under live and monitored conditions, the capacity of their aircraft to evade infrared-guided surface-to-air missiles, from basic Manpads to more advanced surface to air short-range systems (SHORADS). As a cherry on the cake, the Embow trials are always performed in highly instrumented areas so that the participants can take a close look at the actual efficiency of the systems they field. Any noticed discrepancy is then funneled, in a second move, back to the industry for updating and improvements.


Spanning four weeks, from 18 September to 12 October, Embow XIII placed a strong priority on how to enhance or optimise the self-protection systems of NATO aircraft currently participating in overseas expeditionary missions: fighters, airlifters and helicopters alike. True to say, US airplanes and rotorcraft from other NATO nations have paid, since 2002 in Iraq and Afghanistan, a heavy toll to the insurgents, while furthermore ongoing air operations over Libya have proved in combat the value of the different EW systems developed by the European industry for their current generation aircraft.

As such, European manufacturers of electronic warfare equipment took advantage of Embow XIII to test current as well as prototypes of future EW systems during some 100 “live firing” sorties from Cazaux AB performed over the DGA Biscarosse test site and its extensive network of radars and trajectography equipment.


This was particularly the case for EADS Cassidian and the Spanish company Indra who used a CASA 212 test-bed from the French DGA (the French Defence Procurement Agency) to put on trial a new DIRCM designed for the self-protection of high-value transport aircraft. Dubbed Manta, this multi-spectral multi-band high-energy laser-based system (developed in partnership with Rosoboronexport of Russia), is able to counter several Manpads launched simultaneously from short distances. It is intended to equip the A400M at a later stage.


For the Embow XIII evaluation, Indra’s Manta was linked to sensors from Cassidian’s AN/AAR-60 MILDS (Missile Launch Detection System) as used today on many NATO tactical airplanes and helicopters, like the Tiger, Mangusta and Black Hawk.


Burning fires of deception


If the use of chaff (metal foil) in combat dates back to World War 2 – clouds of small metallic dipoles being dropped by attacking bombers to deceive or jam German radars – the use of flares (burning decoys) as counter-measures against heat-seeking missiles is more recent and truly appropriate for the jet age. The ubiquitous Infra-Red Countermeasures


(IRCM) decoy flare is nearly 50 years old. Simple, robust and effective, for many years it was the only means of providing aircraft protection against the IR-guided missile. For today’s flying combat machine, as a matter of fact, chaff and flares are a very common and worthwhile method of evasion against an incoming missile or to disrupt the “lock-on” of a tracking radar.


Initially a US invention – used first in the 1960s on the B-47, B-52 and B-58 strategic bombers aiming to penetrate heavily defended Soviet defence lines – IR flares never saw wide usage during the larger part of the Cold War. Aircraft-mounted self-defence flare launcher systems were first witnessed to be widely used by Israeli aviators over Beirut – particularly noticeable on TV newsreels - during the Lebanon war of 1981 and subsequent air operations against the PLO. Flares were also widely used by the Soviets over Afghanistan a few years later. With the widespread introduction of the SA-7 in 1984 and Stingers in 1985, helicopters became exposed to those missiles, and soon all of them were equipped with flare dispensers, active IR jammers, and exhaust dampers to reduce their infrared (IR) signatures. At first, only Mi-24 “Hind” attack helicopters were so equipped, but eventually Mi-8 “Hip” transports received these counter-measures as well.


In fact, the Israeli Air Force’s brand-new General Dynamics F-16A Block 10 Fighting Falcons were unique in 1981 in being the first Western fighter jets to include the fitting of ALE-40 chaff/flare dispensers – systems for long reserved only for US strategic bombers – to provide an adequate self-protection against heat-seeking missiles. This was based on something the Israelis had learned the hard way during the Yom Kippur war of 1973. An intense conflict where, according to subsequent White House debriefings, the Israeli Air Force lost no less than 102 aircraft – 32 F-4s, 53 A-4s, 11 Mirages and 6 Super Mysteres – mostly to Egyptian and Syrians surface to air missiles. Two helicopters, a Bell 205 and a CH-53, were also shot down this way. In all these cases, the Israeli aircraft were totally devoid of any IR self-defence systems.


What exactly are these IRCM systems? They are in fact a very simple invention, based on canisters bolted to the airframe and firing one or more flaming decoys in sequence in the direction of an incoming infrared-guided missile. IR flares are cartridges usually discharged individually or in salvoes by the pilot (or automatically by a tail-warning system on cue). Usually accompanied by simultaneous vigorous evasive manoeuvering, these decoys are supposed to lure a missile and make them miss them intended target by heading to the decoy’s heat source instead.


Since they are intended to deceive infrared missiles, these flares burn at temperatures of thousands of degrees, incandescing in the visible spectrum as well. They have proved their value repeatedly in combat. Flare decoys are however only effective in the terminal phase acquisition of missiles fitted with IR signature seeker heads, i.e. a very short moment in time, which explains why fully automatic self-defence systems with cued sequencers are now preferred.


Flare decoys are simple inexpensive cigar-sized containers, in general square or round, commonly composed of a pyrotechnic composition based on magnesium or another hot-flaming metal, with burning temperature equal to or hotter than an aircraft engine exhaust. As said, the trick is to make the infrared-guided missile seek out the heat signature from the flare rather than that of the aircraft’s engine(s).


In contrast to electro-magnetically (EM) radar-guided missiles, IR-guided missiles are very difficult to spot as they close on an aircraft. They have no radar signature, and they are generally fired from the rear, directly toward the jet pipe of an aircraft or the hot exhaust of a turbine. In most cases, during combat, pilots have then to rely on their wingmen to spot the missile’s characteristic smoke trail and alert them. Since Manpads are inherently far shorter-legged in distance and altitude range than their radar-guided counterparts, good situational awareness of altitude and potential threats continues to be a very effective defence against them. Luckily, much more advanced electro-optical systems – as developed over the past two decades – can now detect missile launches automatically from the very distinct emissions of a missile’s rocket motor, both in the infrared (IR) and ultra-violet (UV) bands.


How does it work? In flight, once the presence of an IR missile is indicated, flares are released by the aircraft in quick succession in an attempt to decoy the incoming missile; most IRCM systems are automatic, while others – the earlier ones – required manual jettisoning of the flares, thus limiting their efficiency. The aircraft will then pull away at a sharp angle from the flare (and the terminal trajectory of the missile) and reduce engine power in attempt to cool its thermal signature. Optimally, the missile’s seeker head is then confused by this change in temperature and sudden flurry of new hotter signatures, and therefore follows the flare(s) rather than the aircraft… giving the pilot(s) a chance to fight again another day!


For the IR generating cartridges, two approaches are possible: either pyrotechnic or pyrophoric. “As stored”, explains Major Thomas Vermeersch, a test pilot with DGA in Cazaux, “chemical-energy-source IR-decoy flares contain pyrotechnic compositions, pyrophoric substances, and highly flammable substances. Upon ignition of the decoy flare, a strongly exothermal reaction is started, releasing infrared energy and visible smoke and flame, the potency of the emission being dependent on the chemical nature of the payload used.” There are a wide variety of calibres and shapes available for aerial decoy flares depending on their manufacturer. In short, due to volume storage restrictions on-board modern platforms, many aircraft of US origin employ square-shaped cartridges. Cylindrical cartridges (from 19 to 60mm in general) are used mainly on board French aircraft as well as those of Russian origin. They are much more resistant to warping and handing damages.


The coming of DIRCM systems


But in the present day combat theatre, flares are not enough, and new inventions are now being conceived to deceive shoulder-launched infrared missiles. This is especially so with the development of new-generation seekers, dubbed SG4 by NATO, that are now able to discriminate easily between jet pipes and flaming decoys. This aptitude was well demonstrated in a video shown to the press in Cazaux by Isabelle Lecuyer, the person in charge of aircraft self-protection systems with DGA. This revealed that a Mirage 2000D dropping traditional flares could not evade the “lock-on” of a newer generation IR tracker - thus giving the sword a clean edge over the shield…


But new counter-measures are being designed in order to protect aircraft further against the Manpads threat. Among the most promising is the Directional Infrared Counter-Measure system (DIRCM), a solution nowadays principally produced by Northrop Grumman, ITT Corporation and BAE Systems in the USA, and by Elbit Systems in Israel. Thales, Terma, Saab and Indra in Europe are also working on new DIRCMs, as is Russian industry.


More advanced than conventional flare-based IR counter-measure systems, a standard DIRCM is a lightweight, compact system designed to provide mission-vulnerable aircraft – like strategic airlifters and large helicopters – with increased protection from common battlefield IR threats. The term DIRCM is used as a generic moniker to describe any IRCM system that tracks and directs energy toward the menace. Such is the AN/AAQ-24 Nemesis, a DIRCM system which consists of a missile warning system (AN/AAR-54), an integration unit, a processor, and laser turrets (Small Laser Targeting Assembly, SLTA). Early versions used an arc lamp to generate the jamming signal. Newer versions use diode-based pump systems. DIRCMs will be installed as standard on C-17 and MC-130 airlifters, and CV-22 and CH-53E rotorcraft. Nemesis is also the basis for the Northrop Grumman Guardian system marketed for commercial aircraft. Pending the completion of ICAO tests on the viability of such options, they will likely be fitted to many commercial carriers in the near future. So will the Large Aircraft Infrared Counter-Measure system (LAIRCM) and LAIRCM-Lite which is a strict C-17 programme that uses a combination of laser jammers and flares due to the limited availability of some LAIRCM components.


First US try at fooling the IR threat


It took some time for scientists to develop IR countermeasures. By the mid 1960s, an understanding of missile operations and radiation emission from pyrotechnic flames was becoming more mature. As a result, the objectives of new research contracts in the USA became more specific. They undertook the task to develop a pyrotechnic source that radiated in a narrow wavelength band and emitted selectively:

1 - in the specific IR bands resulting from the radiation produced by aircraft;

2 - and capable of operating in the sensitive region of the detector used in the adversary missile guidance system.


The requirement of this effort brought the first attempt to create a pyrotechnic decoy that radiated in regions corresponding to regions where aircraft usually diffuse heat. Today one might identify such a decoy as a “spectral or colour adapted” flare, but in the mid 1960s the researchers did not appreciate how important it would be to have a decoy that would radiate with the proper spectral properties.


In 1967, the US Navy China Lake test centre reported on the development of a decoy flare intended for launching from the AN/ALE-29 dispensing set installed on a number of US military aircraft. The goal was for the flare to defeat the AA-2 “Atoll” short-range, infrared homing air-to-air missile developed by the Soviet Union using the Sidewinder 1A as a surrogate. This was a not too complex issue, in reality, as the “Atoll” (Vympel K-13) was similar in appearance and function to the American AIM-9 Sidewinder (after which it had been reverse-engineered using an unexploded missile recovered in China in September 1958). Early flare developments were aimed at providing protection in the infrared 2m to 3m bandpass region. As missiles improved, the threat moved to also operate in the infrared 3m to 5m bandpass region. In 1968, the US Navy set out to develop a family of infrared flares that were effective in the 3m to 5m bandpass region. They considered changing the combustion mode to a much higher rate, burning more material, lengthening the flare by two inches, altering the AN/ALE-29 dispenser to “squarish” holes, and altering the composition to improve efficiency. The Mk 46 Mod 0 flare, put in production in 1968, was the first US-made flare developed with the above objectives. The need for 120-150 decoy flares on an aircraft operating in a dangerous area was considered mandatory. It was the first time that IRCM investigators suggested that the number of flares that could be carried by aircraft of that era would be insufficient to provide complete protection.


But it took another 10 to 15 years for IRCM systems to become commonplace, and once the Manpads threat turned into a “no escape” lethal issue - something complicated by the use of antiquated weapons like the RPG against low flying aircraft - thus adding more odds in the unending battle between the sword and the shield.

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