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Indian Air Force to equip its Sukhoi Su-30MKIs with Israeli X-Guard retractable supersonic decoys

Source : IgMp Bureau

Indian Air Force to equip its Sukhoi Su-30MKIs with Israeli X-Guard retractable supersonic decoys
Israeli X-Guard supersonic retractable decoy illustration deployed on F-16 fighter (Image Credit: Rafael Advanced Defense Systems)

The Indian Air Force is all set to equip its Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets with Israeli X-Guard, fiber-optic supersonic towed decoy, which is a retractable, fast, deployable lightweight decoy that can defeat air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles, thus increasing the survivability of the aircraft. The decoy weighs 7 kg and the pylon and wiring weighs 60 kg and the decoy can be reused multiple times making it exceptionally cost-effective.

What Are Towed Decoys?

Here, let’s understand the term “Decoy” first. Decoy means a thing that intends to attract someone by deceiving them. So basically Decoys on fighter aircraft work in a way, that they will attract the incoming threat and deceive it towards themselves. And here the term “towed” means “to pull someone/something behind one object. So, basically towed decoys are such that they are pulled along with the aircraft and that decoy will be part of the EW suits of aircraft.

Israeli X-Guard supersonic retractable decoy

This countermeasure basically for the 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, which allows it to lure incoming missiles away from their actual target.

Capabilities Of Towed Decoys

Normal EW suits cannot protect from Missiles equipped with Monopulse Radar and LORO (Lobe-On-Recieve-Only) Radars. These decoys are specially made for the same that can decoy and jam other radars along with especially these two. It can be used multiple times and also can be retracted. Also, it is not on the hardpoint, it added by additional pylon on the wings. It can fly along with aircraft up to a speed of 1.6 Mach and can withstand the forces and acceleration of 9G. Due to this, it can also be easily used when the jet is cruising at supersonic speed. The connection is basically with optic fiber so the power supply is always high.

How It Will Benefit Indian Sukhoi Su-30?

Suppose the aircraft is coming or approaching an area that is guarded by Air defenses, this towed decoy will help the aircraft to dodge the incoming missiles. Each and every Sukhoi Su-30s of India has this Decoy and it has one decoy under each wing.

An enemy missile deviated from its path of targetting the aircraft, and started targetting the decoy, An Artist illustration of the working of a decoy system

So, whenever the EW suite or Missile Approach Warning System of Sukhoi detects the Incoming missiles i.e. SAM or Air-to-Air, these decoys are released. These decoys will lure the incoming attacking SAM or AAM missiles away from the protected platform, by creating an attractive false target signal. The missile will divert from homing the actual target (i.e. The parent Aircraft).

This decoy can be used against even sophisticated air defenses like LY-80, HQ-9, and even S-400, etc. Due to this decoys retractable nature, they can be also retracted back to aircraft after successful evade/jamming of the incoming threat. And after that, if another threat comes, it can be redeployed.

We all know, that missile in the final stages has less energy, so if even much hyped Chinese PL-15 Long Range BVRAAM gets fired on Sukhoi Su-30MKI from a distance of more than 150kms then there are bright chances that the missile will miss hitting the Sukhoi as there are very high chances that the missile could have deviated from the path by these decoys.

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