BAE Systems demonstrates electronic warfare (EW) towed decoy aircraft protection from radar-guided missiles

Navy asks BAE Systems to demonstrate electronic warfare (EW) dual-band towed decoy capability to protect combat aircraft from new radar-guided missiles.

May 17th, 2019
The new BAE Systems dual-band decoy is being designed to replace the ALE-55 decoy, depicted above.
The new BAE Systems dual-band decoy is being designed to replace the ALE-55 decoy, depicted above.Raytheon photo

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. – Electronic warfare (EW) experts at BAE Systems will demonstrate a new dual-band towed decoy to help U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F jet fighter-bomber pilots avoid modern sophisticated enemy radar-guided anti-aircraft missiles.

Officials of the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., announced a $36.7 million contract Thursday to the BAE Systems Electronic Systems segment in Nashua, N.H., to develop and demonstrate dual-band decoy (DBD) capability to provide off-board countermeasures protection for the F/A-18E/F.

The DBD towed decoy project, launched last June, seeks to meet an urgent Navy need to protect crews of area-penetrating attack jets like the F/A-18E/F from enemy radar-guided missiles that operate on two separate frequencies, such as X-band and S-band.

Dual-band radar is particularly difficult to jam, and poses a serious threat to U.S. aircraft that must operate in contested airspace. A towed decoy trails behind the aircraft on a tether to draw the attention of enemy missiles and protect the aircraft from being hit.

Related: Navy asks BAE Systems to build T-1687/ALE-70(V) electronic warfare (EW) towed decoys for F-35

The DBD program is intended as a replacement for the ALE-55 round assembly (T-1622/ALE-55(V)) and ALE-50 advanced airborne expendable decoy (AAED) (RT-1646E/ALE) deployed today onboard the F/A-18E/F to protect the aircraft from radar-guided missiles.

From BAE Systems, Navy experts are most interested in the decoy's canister housing, decoy aerobody, internal electronics and antennas, towline cable, payout and brake mechanism, and connector and bulkhead interface assemblies.

Navy experts want the DBD to meet or exceed all ALE-55 performance requirements, plus expanded RF requirements. BAE Systems engineers will design the system be compatible with all existing aircraft electrical interfaces on ALE-55 electronic frequency converter (EFC) (CV-4334/ALE-55(V)), ALE-50 integrated multi-platform launch controller (IMPLC) (CD-108B/ALE-50(V)), T-3F launcher (D-71/ALE-50A(V), and magazine (MX-12196/ALE-50A(V)).

Navy officials want the DBD round assembly to be compatible with the T-3F magazine and launcher, and want the DBD round assembly's mass to be as close as possible to the ALE-55 and ALE-50 round decoy assemblies.

Related: Navy orders AN/ALE-55 electronic warfare (EW) towed decoys to protect combat jets from missiles

BAE Systems also is designing the DBD to be compatible with the CCU-136A/A impulse cartridge for deployment and sever, yet with no additional hardware modifications to integrate the DBD system aboard the F/A-18E/F aircraft.

The Navy is urging BAE systems to capitalize on existing systems or subsystems from other programs to reduce costs, schedule, and design risks.

For more information contact BAE Systems Electronic Systems online at, or Naval Air Systems Command at

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