X-GUARD RT™ | The new towed decoy from RAFAEL
Defence Redefined
Published on 18/05/2024 at 14:53

RAFAEL has recently announced the launch of the X-Guard RT, the latest addition to its X-Guard family of reusable towed EW decoys for air platforms.

The X-Guard RT has built-in receive, process and transmission capabilities to provide advanced electronic countermeasure (ECM) capabilities to fighter aircraft, cargo planes (A-400M as depicted in the cover photo), early warning and intelligence platforms and patrol aircraft. 

Fit in an aerodynamic pod being installed on wing stations (hard points) and accommodating an advanced reel out/reel-in mechanism alongside the decoy itself, the X-Guard can be deployed with fibre-optic continuity throughout the flight. 

Upon mission completion, the decoy is reeled into its stowed mode position inside. As a self-contained towed electronic warfare (EW) decoy, this solution is deployable and retractable during flight, reusable and cost-effective featuring extremely high transmission power and a 360° spatial coverage. In fact, it acts as an extended arm of the EW suite, trailing 150 metres behind the aircraft.

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With a weight, including the pod and the decoy, of 65 kg, the said system is certified for use within the aircraft operational flight envelope with flight characteristics such as an altitude of up to 50,000 feet, a velocity of up to Mach 1.6 and a 7g acceleration.

According to the company, the new towed decoy was developed in response to the lessons learned from recent conflicts, where Air Forces faced advanced and diverse Integrated Air Defence Systems (IADS) and extended periods of lacking air dominance. 

Installation of the X-Guard RT towed decoy pylon on a C-130 tactical transport aircraft. 

With minimal limitations on aircraft manoeuvrability, X-Guard RT maintains operational flexibility without degradation of in-flight performance.

According to RAFEL, unlike similar EW decoys that rely on the aircraft’s EW systems for signal receiving and processing and use the decoy to transmit signals remotely of the aircraft, X-Guard RT operates independently, using an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar for receipt and transmission with signal processing on board, without requiring support from the aircraft ECM suite. 

Also read: BAE Systems | Development of next-generation airborne decoy countermeasure

Operating across a wide frequency range with advanced Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM) techniques, the decoy can match the transmitted signals from the hostile radar and mimic the target’s profile, thus ensuring advanced threat detection and effective jamming against a broad spectrum of threats. 

The decoy is fully programmable, enabling mission customization and adaptation to new threats, except for radar-guided air-to-air and ground-to-air missiles, and versatile enough to integrate with most aircraft types. 

Also read: Thales | Keeping the naval tactical edge in Electronic Warfare with OBAD




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