Nano SPEAR anti-radar decoy puts big protection in a small package
To give big aircraft better protection against missile attacks and small ones some, Elbit Systems has unveiled its Nano Self Protection Electronic Attack and Reconnaissance (SPEAR) disposable anti-radar decoy at this year's Paris Air Show.
The competition between aircraft and anti-aircraft missiles is a constant race between offensive and defensive measures. Over the years, missiles have become smarter, more maneuverable, and boast better sensors. Meanwhile, engineers keep equipping aircraft with ever more sophisticated countermeasures.
This doesn't just apply to combat aircraft. Supply planes and even civilian passenger liners in war zones are often equipped with the means to fend off attack – sometimes in spectacular fashion as when a transport jet taking off from a field anticipating a portable missile launch leaves behind what looks like a spontaneous fireworks display as it drops a spray of flares to attract heat-seeking warheads.
Other electronic countermeasures (ECM) are less apparent. In fact, they're completely invisible to the naked eye. Ground, air, and missile-based radar are an ever present threat and military aircraft carry jamming devices as part of their ECM suite to prevent targeting radar from locking on.
Unfortunately, such suites aren't always as comprehensive as one might like. There is always room for improvement. In addition, some aircraft don't have radar jammers as part of their gear and some, especially small civilian craft, may not have any ECMs at all.
It's to address this that the Elbit Nano SPEAR has been introduced. Part of the company's SPEAR family, its purpose is to plug holes in conventional ECMs and to provide ECM protection for planes that otherwise can't defend against targeting radar.
Weighing only 800 g (1.75 lb), Nano SPEAR looks like a little metal box with rounded edges and folding airfoils at the rear. Its dimensions allow it to be fitted into a standard countermeasures dispenser or even tossed out a window. On its one-way mission, the expendable radio frequency decoy activates an advanced digital receiver, a digital RF memory device, and an electronic warfare (EW) technique generator to fool enemy missile systems and lure them away from the target, giving it time to escape or counterattack.
"We are proud to enable our customers high-end protection capabilities to increase their platform survivability and aircrew safety," said Oren Sabag, General Manager of Elbit Systems ISTAR & EW. "We will continue to invest significant R&D efforts to supply the most advanced, cutting edge and cost-effective solutions guaranteeing comprehensive protection and mission success."
Source: Elbit Systems