Active RF decoys are increasingly popular in the naval domain. Highly responsive, decoys provide an extra layer of protection against radar-guided Anti-Ship Missiles (AShMs). They can be added to the tactical mix comprising a warship’s reaction to an incoming AShM. These include the use of chaff and Radar Corner Reflectors (RCRs) to confuse and seduce the missile, jamming and hard-kill measures like close-in weapons systems. Decoys can transmit conventional jamming or discreet jamming waveforms. Usefully, C-GEM can be ejected from standard 110mm and 150mm countermeasures launchers routinely equipping surface combatants.
Specific details have not been revealed but it is thought that C-GEM can attack AShM radars transmitting on X-band (8.5 gigahertz/GHz to 10.68GHz) up to Ka-band (33.4GHz to 36GHz); the lion’s share of frequencies used by AShM radars. Rafael officials told Armada in the past that the decoy can be pre-loaded with a customer’s own jamming waveforms and algorithms. C-GEM uses an active electronically-scanned array aiding the interception of multiple targets and providing 360-degrees of coverage. During Euronaval, Rafael officials shared with Armada that the firm is planning to modernise the decoy. Although C-GEM only recently began full-scale manufacture the upgrade path will focus on regular hardware and software refreshes. As well as adorning new decoys, officials said that these improvements can be retrofitted on existing ones.
SEWS-DV is also having a makeover. Its Electronic Support Measure (ESM) element covers frequencies of 500 megahertz to 4GHz detecting threats below -65 decibel/milliwatt (dBmi). This is particularly useful for detecting radars using low probability of detection/interception waveforms. The SEWS-DV’s baseline electronic countermeasure component can transmit jamming waveforms against targets emitting in frequencies of two gigahertz to 18GHz, blasting out over 75dBmi worth of effective radiated power.
Company officials disclosed that the ECM has received an upgrade in the form of Gallium Nitride antenna technology. This will increase the power levels the jammer can transmit. Frequencies covered by the jammer have also been extended up to 40GHz. This is a prudent step: AShM radar seekers are migrating into millimetric bands due to the high level of detail such radar frequencies can gather helping to increase missile accuracy. The GAN front end and frequency extensions will be available to existing SEWS-DV customers as upgrades and will be standard on new-build systems.