The threat to aircraft from missiles with imaging infrared seekers has developed more rapidly and in more countries independently than the original infrared missile threat. This is, in part, a consequence of the civil sector's demand for high-resolution infrared imagers and the development of computer processors capable of implementing complex image-processing algorithms im real time. Dstl has developed the Fly-In model to analyse the potential effectiveness of existing countermeasures (CM) to imaging infrared seekers and to test new CM approaches before trialling them against surrogate imaging seekers.
The validation of the Fly-In model is extremely important, particularly as the newness of the imaging infrared threat, means that actual examples of the threat are not available for study. Extensive measurements have been carried out on the appearance of flare CM in different infrared wavebands, and on the effects of lasers on the optics and detector of an surrogate imageing seeker. Other parts of the model are derived from other Dstl models, including the NATO Infrared Airborne Target Model (NIRATAM) and HADES (missile dynamics) that are validated against trials' data.
Initial studies have shown that existing CM, and those under development, can be very effective against imaging infrared seekers, by defeating the seeker's image-processing algorithms. It is already clear that laser CM will play an increasing role in the defence of aircraft, thereby enhancing aircraft survivability. Moreover, this model will aid the military planner in determining the best mix of CM and the tactics for using them.