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AN/ALE-50 AAED Advanced Airborne Expendable Decoy

The ALE-50 Advanced Airborne Expendable Decoy (AAED) is a towed expendable intended to provide a radar target decoy to an incoming missile. The ALE-50 can be manually operated as a stand-alone device, or it can be integrated and controlled by the ALE-47. This expendable towed decoy is designed to provide countermeasures against radar guided anti-aircraft threats, thereby increasing the survivability of tactical aircraft. The decoy is deployed when required and cut free before landing. The program is in Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase, with work being conducted by Raytheon, Goleta, CA.

The Air Force has integrated the system on the F-16 and the B-1B. The Navy intends to incorporate the device onboard the F/A-18E/F. The F/A-18E/F integration is an interim configuration until the Integrated Defensive Countermeasures (IDECM) system development is complete. The B-1B integration is an interim configuration until the Defensive System Upgrade Program (DSUP) development is complete. The ALE-50 onboard system major components will be upgraded as the launcher controller for the fiber optic towed decoy in the B-1B DSUP, and the F/A-18E/F IDECM.

Multi-Service Operational Test and Evaluation (MOT&E) drew heavily from a number of live missile firings at a QF-106 drone employing the AAED. Other open air testing was conducted for correlation of AAED effectiveness in the live firings to effectiveness of the AAED employed from an F-16 aircraft. The ALE-50 system integrated onboard the F-16 completed IOT&E in September 1996. Analysis from the MOT&E and IOT&E found the AAED, and the ALE-50 system as installed on the F-16 to be both effective and suitable. Milestone III occurred in 1QFY97.

DOT&E staff and support analysts have monitored AFOTEC B-1B ALE-50 test plans and testing. The AN/ALE-50 TEMP has not been updated since the MS-III. The B-1B T&E planning associated with the new platform integration and on-board system acquisition of the AN/ALE-50 is specifically reflected in an Air Force approved B-1B Towed Decoy TEMP and Test Plans.

The T&E objectives are (1) to validate the ALE-50 onboard system suitability, and interoperability with other B-1B systems when installed in the B-1B during operations; (2) to demonstrate towed decoy compatibility with the B-1B operational flight regime (i.e. B-1B capability to safely launch, tow, retain, and detach the AAED); and (3) validate that AAED effectiveness, when employed by B-1B, is comparable to that demonstrated during the F-16 IOT&E. A method similar to the F-16 IOT&E, is being used for correlation of B-1B / AAED effectiveness with the MOT&E live firing effectiveness results. The B-1B ALE-50 OT&E has followed a sound process building on previous ALE-50/AAED testing.

NAVY ACAT II Program
94 B-1B systems
Total B-1B production (TY$) $120M
Average B-1B unit cost (TY$) $1.2M
Full-rate B-1B production start 3QFY97

Prime Contractor
Boeing North American

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