BriteCloud - The world's first expendable DRFM jammer for fast-jet aircraft
BriteCloud, a self-contained Digital RF Memory (DRFM) jammer for fast jet aircraft was launched by Leonardo (as Selex ES) on November 6th with the announcement that Saab will be the first partner to include the new decoy as an option for its fighter platforms. Saab will offer BriteCloud as an Electronic Warfare enhancement option on all versions of Gripen, both new and existing.
What is the threat?
Fast jet aircraft face a highly developed airborne and surface-based RF threat. Mobile SAMs with highly accurate RF tracking systems present a formidable threat when used in pop-up mode and many older systems have been retro-fitted with modern electronics that have greatly enhanced their capabilities. The modern systems are particularly difficult to counter and have an array of Electronic Protection Measures (EPM) at their disposal.
How does BriteCloud counter the threat?
BriteCloud contains technology sophisticated enough to beat these modern tracking systems. Compared to older-generation off-board products such as simple repeater-based active decoys that are only able to defeat legacy continuous-wave emitters, BriteCloud’s DRFM-based technology is able provide both Doppler and range obscuration. These functions allow BriteCloud to defeat chaff discrimination techniques and systems with range and velocity ‘gates’. Effectively, BriteCloud creates a false target so convincing that technologies designed to spot decoys are rendered ineffective, allowing a much wider range of threat systems to be defeated.
As an off-board jamming device, BriteCloud avoids the inherent ‘home-on-jam’ vulnerabilities of on-board devices where the jamming itself acts as a beacon. The self-contained nature of BriteCloud, which does all its processing inside the unit rather than on the platform, also allows it to put significant distance between itself and the fighter after launch. This minimises any risk of incoming missiles detonating in close proximity to the platform.
How will BriteCloud evolve in the future?
As it is programmable, BriteCloud will remain relevant as threats evolve and new threats appear. Leonardo’s Electronic Warfare Operational Support (EWOS) support for BriteCloud will allow customers to program the decoys so that they are optimised to identify and respond to the emitters and threats that are likely to be encountered during a particular mission, and in a particular region. Leonardo has a dedicated facility for EWOS in Lincoln in the United Kingdom and, as with the company’s range of other electronic warfare products, will be able to provide a range of programming options, ultimately giving sovereign control of the techniques used to the end user.