* The Navy has tapped BAE Systems to upgrade its radio-frequency countermeasure aircraft decoy.
The ALE-55 fiber optic towed decoy will feature an extended frequency range to protect warfighters from advanced threats. The system provides aircraft with enhanced protection capabilities by utilizing radio frequencies to suppress, deceive and lure missiles, said Tom McCarthy, dual-band decoy program director at BAE Systems.
"As the future threat evolves, the frequency that [adversaries] use to track us changes," McCarthy said in an interview. "In response to that, the Navy has asked us to modify the decoy in order to extend its frequencies to allow us to perform better against" advanced adversaries.
The two-year contract is worth $36.7 million and scheduled to conclude toward the end of fiscal year 2021, McCarthy said.
The dual-band fiber optic towed decoy, also known as FOTD, was designed to be deployed behind an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
"The general principle behind a towed decoy is to basically create an alternate target... for a missile being fired at an aircraft," McCarthy said. "It is towed behind the aircraft, some amount of distance, to physically separate it from the aircraft."
The towed decoys enable pilots to execute missions in contested airspace, he said in a press release. The ALE-55 FOTD has a high-powered jamming system.
The decoy can utilize "suppression," which uses radio-emitting jamming technology to...