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December 5, 2023 1:29 am

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Take A Look At These Photos Of An F-35 Flying With The ALE-70 Towed Decoy Door Open



A fairly uncommon sight: an F-35 flying with the flare and ALE-70 towed decoy dispenser doorways open. (All pictures: Steve Fortson)

The ALE-70 towed radio frequency countermeasure is saved below a hatch subsequent to the twin infrared countermeasures dispenser doorways, that look like open too.

The pictures on this submit have been taken final week at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, by our pal Steve Fortson. They present an F-35A flying with each the ALE-70 and the flare dispenser doorways open. Curiously, it appears to be like just like the plane flew the mission on this fairly uncommon “configuration” and made a number of passes after returning to its homebase, as Steve noticed.

Flares and towed decoy doorways are often closed to protect the LO (Low Observability) of the plane, and are opened to deploy the countermeasures. Because of this, it’s not clear whether or not they have been open for testing functions or for one more cause (probably additionally a minor failure – it will not be the primary time – we now have seen F-35s flying with open panels as a consequence of a glitch).

An F-35 flies with the flare and towed decoy dispenser doorways open.

Whereas there are many pictures exhibiting the Lightning stealth jets releasing flares, there only a few one exhibiting the ALE-70 door open. The ALE-70 is a towed radio frequency countermeasure designed and produced by BAE Techniques for the F-35. Each the A, B and C variant can carry the decoy. In the meanwhile, moreover the U.S. Air Pressure, Marine Corps and Navy, the one overseas operator is the Royal Australian Air Pressure.

F-35 releasing flares (USAF)

Towed decoy systems are used to guard navy plane from radar-guided missiles. These countermeasures are towed behind the host plane defending it in opposition to each surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles. They supply a radiowave reflecting bait that draws the RF-guided missiles away from the supposed goal. They’re hooked up through a Fibre Optic hyperlink that’s used to ship instructions to the decoy radio frequency emitter to provide jamming alerts required to lure the missile away from the “father or mother plane”.

Many plane are outfitted with such towed decoys. The U.S. F-18s and B-1s are outfitted with the ALE-50 system, whereas the Eurofighter Hurricane is supplied with a Towed Radar Decoy carried within the starboard facet wingtip pod.

The ALE-70 of the F-35 is saved internally and deployed, as defined, by way of a hatch that’s aft of the flare dispenser and it’s made from a reel and launcher meeting, tow line, T-1687 countermeasure transmitter, and digital and mechanical subassemblies. It additionally has canisters, and explosive cartridges which can be wanted to deploy the decoys.

ALE-70 (through F16.internet)

As defined, usually talking, towed decoys are self-protection countermeasures, as they can be utilized to enhance an plane’s survivability in opposition to air-to-air and anti-aircraft threats. ALE-70 is especially helpful for the F-35, thought of that the Lightning just isn’t outfitted with chaffs (countermeasures used in opposition to radar-guided missiles). Nevertheless, they will also be helpful in a SEAD/DEAD scenario, the place the decoy might be reeled out by an F-35 to simulate a giant “false goal” as a bait for enemy air defense systems whereas one other F-35 in full stealth mode geo-locates the emitters and assaults them.

ALE-70 (BAE Techniques)

By the best way, towed decoys are sometimes referred to as “first technology decoys”, as they have been developed in direction of the top of the Chilly Conflict and depend on a cable that connects them to the plane to allow them to maintain the required distance and in addition obtain information and energy for the jamming sign. Most fashionable ones, like BriteCloud battery powered, self-contained cartridge that gives an off-board jamming functionality – therefore the time period “lively” – that may be dropped just like the traditional chaffs and flares – therefore the time period “expendable” – creating a big distance between the plane and the decoy so the missile and its shrapnel miss utterly the plane. 

David Cenciotti is a journalist based mostly in Rome, Italy. He’s the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of many world’s most well-known and skim navy aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for main worldwide magazines, together with Air Forces Month-to-month, Fight Plane, and plenty of others, masking aviation, protection, struggle, business, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown a number of fight planes with completely different air forces. He’s a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Pressure, a personal pilot and a graduate in Laptop Engineering. He has written 5 books and contributed to many extra ones.


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