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New Defense Partnership: Indian Su-30MKI to be Fitted with State-of-the-Art Israeli X-Ad Fiber Optic Decoy System

IAF’s Sukhoi Su-30MKI is poised to receive the Rafael X-Guard Fiber Optic supersonic decoy system, which helps evade air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles, as per media reports.

The X-Guard system is a cutting-edge towed decoy solution that defeats advanced tracking radar, including monopole and Lobe-On-Receive-Only (LOBO) radar types. It is deployable and retractable mid-flight, towed behind the fighter aircraft. The decoy can be integrated with any platform’s EW suite as a high-value active suite component.

To understand towed decoys, we must first comprehend the term “decoy.” A decoy is an object that aims to attract someone by deceiving them. Decoys on fighter aircraft work by attracting incoming threats and luring them towards themselves. “Towed” means “to pull someone/something behind one object.” Therefore, towed decoys are pulled along with the aircraft and are part of the aircraft’s EW suits.

The X-Guard fiber optic supersonic towed decoy is designed to counter RF-guided missiles, i.e., radar-guided missiles. It works together with the aircraft’s electronic warfare system to provide radar jamming. In addition, it can also be used in a backup mode as a signal repeater, luring incoming missiles away from their actual targets.

Towed decoys are capable of protecting against missiles equipped with Monopulse Radar and LORO (Lobe-On-Receive-Only) Radars, which normal EW suits cannot do. These decoys are specially designed to decoy and jam other radars, especially these two. They can be used multiple times and can be retracted. They are not on the hardpoint but are added by an additional pylon on the wings. They can fly along with the aircraft up to a speed of 1.6 Mach and can withstand forces and acceleration of 9G. Due to this, they can also be easily used when the jet is cruising at supersonic speed. The connection is essentially with optic fiber, so the power supply is always high.

This advanced tech-security upgrade would be very helpful against incoming missiles of China and Pakistan. Currently, it even seems to beat the PL-15 missiles. After saving itself, Su-30MKIs can now take down enemy JF-17 or J-20 using its current set of BVR missiles. It can also target enemy radar and electro-optical systems using precision-guided ammunition and anti-radiation missiles.

Since the system is linked to the aircraft’s defensive avionics and EW system through a fiber-optic cable, it operates over a wide frequency range to counter various types of radars and missiles. The decoy is retrievable and can be deployed several times during a mission. The fiber-optic connection to the aircraft allows accurate jamming.

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