– The US Air National Guard (ANG) has issued a recommendation for Leonardo's BriteCloud 218 active expendable countermeasure, tested on an F-16 Falcon fighter jet. This is a confirmation of the ANG's confidence, engaged in an intense testing campaign since 2019, that the countermeasure meets, and in some cases exceeds, the operational requirements, guaranteeing superior protection to fourth generation fighters such as the F-16.
The US Air Force subsequently designated the BriteCloud 218 as AN/ALQ-260(V)1, identifying it as an airborne electronic protection countermeasure. In the airborne countermeasures market, the BriteCloud is the only next-generation compact DRFM jamming technology capable of being launched from a standard dispenser. Unlike traditional chaff and flares, BriteCloud employs a sophisticated electronic warfare system designed to counter radar-guided threats.
Developed in the UK, BriteCloud has long been in service with the Royal Air Force. As the first technology in its class in the world, it is currently being evaluated for use with the US military by the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) under the Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) program. The recommendation for use by the ANG is one of the final stages of the program and confirms the operational effectiveness of the system.
The BriteCloud 218 variant evaluated by the FCT is a standard rectangular countermeasure measuring only two by one by eight inches. This shows full compatibility with common dispensers, including the AN/ALE-47, as well as the system's readiness to equip other fourth generation fighters such as the F15, F/A-18, F-16 and A-10. The countermeasure also represents an effective protection for small unmanned platforms; last year it was tested by the German Armed Forces with target drones. The original, slightly larger BriteCloud 55 version, compatible with 55mm flare dispensers such as those aboard the Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab's Gripen C/D, is already in use by the Royal Air Force. The unique combination of state-of-the-art threat protection and extremely low integration costs continues to generate significant international attention. Leonardo is in negotiation with various Air Forces interested in this capability.