Leonardo’s BriteCloud 218 is preparing to carry out an integrated test campaign on the F-16s of the US Air National Guard (ANG). This is the final phase of the US Defense Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) program, the conclusion of which will pave the way for potential US engagement on the system.
BriteCloud is the first countermeasure in the world to use miniature jamming for fighter aircraft missile protection. The upcoming tests will allow the US government to decide on the purchase of the Leonardo system currently in service with the Royal Air Force.
BriteCloud is an active radiofrequency countermeasure for combat aircraft, transport and special missions. Used as a flare, the device employs a powerful miniature jammer to protect the aircraft against radar-guided surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles. The countermeasure is equipped with jamming technology, known as DRFM (Digital Radio Frequency Memory), which allows it to emit a “phantom” electronic signal capable of attracting incoming missiles far away and thus increasing the safety of crew and aircraft.
The US Foreign Comparative Testing program is designed to find, evaluate and use US allied-manufactured systems with unique capabilities at high levels of technological readiness. Leonardo’s BriteCloud, the only system in the world designed and built in the UK, was selected for the FCT program in 2019 following its entry into service with the Royal Air Force.
Since then, Leonardo and US ANG have worked together to advance the program, including training the ANG team dedicated to testing in different parts of the country. The modules delivered to date covered the programming and testing phase using BriteCloud demonstration units. Further training activities will concern the loading of mission data within the countermeasure.
More flight tests are planned for the end of the year, while live shooting will take place in 2022. The BriteCloud has been extensively tested and its capabilities have been demonstrated prior to entering service with the Royal Air Force, for this reason. Leonardo is confident that the FCT program will have the same success. US ANG is evaluating the BriteCloud 218 (2x1x8), compatible with its F-16 dispensers. The countermeasure is also available in the ’55’ version, adaptable to the 55mm dispensers of aircraft such as the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Saab Gripen E and the Tornado GR4, and in the ’55 -T ‘variant, designed for the protection of transport aircraft. , special missions and helicopters.