Leonardo’s BriteCloud Cleared To Begin Foreign Comparative Testing In The U.S.

An creative representation of the BriteCloud 218 variation launched by a F-16C Fighting Falcon. (Photo: Leonardo)

The Expendable Active Decoy will be checked on US F-16s after the current tests on Italian Tornados and Danish F-16s.

The U.S. Air Force’s Seek Eagle Office hasactually authorized Leonardo’s BriteCloud 218 Expendable Active Decoy to be flown on Air National Guard F-16C Block 30 airplane as part of the Defense Department’s Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) program. The functional screening program, veryfirst revealed in 2019, is anticipated to be finished this year, with possible procurement to follow.

As we reported in an extensive story last year, BriteCloud is a battery powered, self-contained cartridge that offers an off-board jamming ability that can be dropped like the timeless chaffs and flares, developing a big range inbetween the airplane and the decoy so the rocket and its shrapnel missouton totally the airplane. According to Leonardo, BriteCloud has the ability to defeat the bulk of RF-guided surface-to-air and air-to-air risk systems, consistingof the ones that rely on the “home-on-jam” assistance.

After BriteCloud is ejected, it begins to search for toppriority hazards, gathering the inbound radar pulses and cross-referencing them versus a pre-programmed danger library. Upon finding a match, BriteCloud’s on-board computersystem uses its innovative algorithms to mimic a “false target” so precise that the hazard system cannot spot the deceptiveness and identify it from the genuine airplane.

“BriteCloud is significantly more efficient than standard countermeasures such as chaff decoys since its innovation enables BriteCloud to tailor its effective electronic ghost signal to the particular risk radar, permitting it to defeat modern-day, advanced dangers,” states Wayne Smith, vice-president of sales for electronic warfare with Leonardo.

Leonardo is presently the just business which prospered to adequately miniaturize the Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM) innovation to the point where it can be introduced from a requirement 55 mm chaff and flare dispenser (“the size of a beverages can”, as the business explained it). With these attributes, BriteCloud needs verylittle platform combination as it simply requires to be packed in the chaff/flare dispensers.

Following the effective tests of the 55 mm BriteCloud round, called BriteCloud 55, Leonardo established an even smallersized alternative called BriteCloud 218 which can fit the 2”x1”x8” US-made chaff/flare dispensers. The FCT tests will usage the BriteCloud 218 round, which fits the requirement AN/ALE-47 countermeasure dispensers setup on the F-16.

An tookoff appearance of BriteCloud55 (Photo: Leonardo)

The mostcurrent turningpoint for the program was revealed at Singapore air program. In the exactsame celebration, as geopolitical stress in the Asia-Pacific area continue to develop, Leonardo stated in a press release it is in conversation with a number of operators globally to upgrade the area’s more than 500 F-16 fighters with the BriteCloud 218 decoy without requiring to customize the platform or carryout pricey combination work. The business decreased to name the countries included.

A current press release from Leonardo likewise pointedout that 2 Italian Air Force Tornados and a Royal Danish Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon checkedout RAF Coningsby throughout October 2021 for trials with the BriteCloud EAD: “Leonardo and the UK Royal Air Force have effectively showed brand-new state-of-the-art deceptiveness strategies utilizing its drinks-can-sized BriteCloud countermeasure, in co-operative trials with the Italian and Royal Danish Air Forces.”

The Italian Air Force fired BriteCloud 55 rounds from Tornado IDS airplane and the Royal Danish Air Force gave BriteCloud 218 rounds from an F-16 fighter at the RAF Donna Nook air weapons variety in Lincolnshire. “The brand-new methods showed extremely reliable at the trials variety and the favorable results will be provided to other NATO countries in an operators’ onlineforum”, Leonardo discussed.

According to spotters showedup at RAF Coningsby to see the checkingout airplane, the Italian Tornado IDS airplane were MM7036/6-06 and MM7023/6-63, appointed to the 6°Stormo at Ghedi Air Base. The Tornados utilized the radio callsign “Spera”, significance they were being flown by aircrew from 311° Gruppo Volo of the Reparto Sperimentale Volo (RSV), the Italian Air Force’s flight test system. The Royal Danish Air Force F-16AM taking part in the verysame trials was determined as E-598.

These tests likewise follow the combination of BriteCloud on the MQ-9A Reaper and MQ-9B Sky/SeaGuardian series UAVs. General Atomics’ MQ-9 endedupbeing the veryfirst RPAS to use BriteCloud, with a test project in late 2020 that saw the Reaper effectively launching a number of inert decoys throughout carriage and release trials from the brand-new Self-Protection Pod.


Stefano D’Urso is a factor for TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. He’s a full-time engineering trainee and aiming pilot. In his extra time he’s likewise an amateur airtravel professionalphotographer and flight simulation lover.

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