Under a $36.7 million contract awarded to them by the U.S. Navy, BAE Systems intends to create a dual band Fiber-Optic Towed Decoy (FOTD) system that will act as a countermeasure against threats to aircraft.
These FOTDs are radio-frequency and are intended to supplement any aircraft: fighters, bombers, or transports alike. They lure threats from aircraft and disrupt radar, keeping missiles from launching in the first place. By building its decoys off the dual band system, BAE is also expanding a proven model: the AN/ALE-55 fiber-optic towed decoy. That system has already been combat proven, interfacing with its hosts’ onboard electric warfare capabilities to clamp down on radio frequency threats.
“Our towed decoys enable pilots to execute missions in highly contested airspace,” Tom McCarthy, director of the Dual Band Decoy Program at BAE Systems, said. “ALE-55 FOTD is a reliable, high-powered jamming system with years of mission success on the F/A-18E/F and extensive flight-testing on a variety of aircraft. Under this new Dual Band Decoy contract, our focus will be building upon the ALE-55’s proven performance in order to defeat the threats of tomorrow.”
While the FOTD will be able to interface with onboard systems, it will also be capable of operating independently.