F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Raytheon receives contract for ALE-50 towed-decoy production

August 31, 2006 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Raytheon has received a $20.7 million contract award for continued production of its ALE-50 line of towed decoys.

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F-16C Block 40 #88413 (31st FW CO bird) with towed decoy installation on the number 8 station pylon. [Photo by Luke]

The award represents the 10th production lot of ALE-50 equipment ordered for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy as part of an original contract that began in December 1996.

The Lot 10 contract calls for 862 decoys for the Air Force and was awarded by the 542nd Combat Sustainment Group, Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, Ga. Equipment acquired by the Lot 10 award will be delivered through September 2008.

Raytheon recently achieved production of its 20,000th ALE-50 decoy and 10 years of on-time deliveries. "Timeliness, effectiveness, and reliability are the hallmarks of the ALE-50," said Pat Hurley, vice president and general manager of Raytheon Electronic Warfare Systems. "Every decoy we produce carries our commitment to the warfighter." Completion of the Lot 10 program will bring the total number of decoys produced by Raytheon to 23,365.

Towed decoy systems provide enhanced aircraft survivability by acting as a preferential target for many types of missile threats. Raytheon's ALE-50 system has played a key role in aircraft self-protection for several military conflicts and is currently operational on F-16, B-1B and F/A-18 aircraft.

The ALE-50 Advanced Airborne Expendable Decoy (AAED) is a towed decoy that acts as a preferential target luring enemy radar-controlled missiles away by providing a much larger radarcross section than the aircraft.

It can be manually operated as a stand-alone device, or it can be integrated and controlled by the ALE-47.

Built by Raytheon Sensors and Electronic Systems of Goleta, Calif., the ALE-50, consists of a launcher/controller, an isolation rack, a decoy magazine and two expendable decoys. The F-16 can carry two ALE-50 pylons on outer under-wing stations.

The ALE-50 system consists of a towed decoy, launcher and launch controller. The decoy, together with its towline and payout reel, are packaged in a sealed canister, which maintains a ten-year shelf life. The decoy is deployed when required and cut free before landing.

The system requires no threat-specific software and communicates health and status to its host aircraft via a standard data bus.

The ALE-50 was first deployed on a USAF F-16 jet.The F-16 uses the standard ALE-50 decoy and a platform-specific integrated launch controller mounted in a wingpylon.




Additional images:

Artist drawing of an AN/ALE-50 towed decoy, deployed from an F-16.