Infrared (IR) flares

Prelims

Infrared (IR) flares

Infrared (IR) flares are pyrotechnic devices

Infrared (IR) flares are pyrotechnic devices, which emit raDIATions of sufficient intensity in the IR region of the electro-magnetic spectrum in addition to the visible raDIATions.

Protection of aircraft, against heat seeking missiles requires creation of infrared signatures similar or more lucrative than aircrafts, for the incoming missiles to lure them away from aircrafts.

Infrared decoy flare development started with indigenisation effort (conventional flare development to defeat 1st and 2nd generation missile seekers) for the existing stores of IAF, but the technology have been mastered to an extent at HEMRL that now advanced decoy flares to defeat 4th and 5th generation of missiles seekers are also within development capabilities.

The technology started with indigenisation activity has now culminated into making India self-reliant in the field of spectrally matched flares. The conventional and advanced flares have been developed in two configurations–

(i) Rectangular 218 flare, and (ii) 50 mm diameter flare for deployment on both NATO and Russian aircraft.

Infrared (IR) flares have two major applications.

When fitted in an antitank missile, they help in locating the position of the target and guides the missile to the target.

The IR flares can also be used as decoys by aircraft, ships, etc. to divert the incoming IR-homing missiles.

Infra red (IR) guided missiles pose major threat to military aircraft. IR flare is used to seduce an IR seeker away from the target by having a stronger signature than that of the target itself. Pyrotechnic decoy flares are still the most commonly used passive countermeasures to lure away incoming heat seeking missiles.

Their broad application can be attributed to ease of loading, highly reliable and cheaper constituents such as metallic fuels and oxidisers.

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DRDO has developed the IR flares for countermeasure dispensing. The flare has four major components, viz., IR emitting pellet, impulse cartridge, flare container and safety and functioning unit.

Multiple Flare Dispenser

The impulse cartridge is fitted into the flare container. The complete flare is then loaded into a multiple flare dispenser. When the impulse cartridge receives an electrical impulse from the dispenser, it is initiated and produces sufficient gas pressure to eject the payload with safety and functioning unit into the air.

Gas pressure is maintained by an effective piston seal arrangement, which ensures a consistent velocity. The safety and functioning unit reacts to the stimulus of the impulse cartridge gas and flame and prevents initiation of the IR pellet until the payload completely exits the flare container.

The IR pellet is rapidly ignited and burns all over its external surface to emit an infrared signature in excess of the aircraft signature.

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