NEWTOWN, Conn. -- The next several years should see steady rates of production of the ALE-55 fiber-optic towed decoy for a variety of U.S. Navy airborne applications. Production and support of the decoy for the Navy's F/A-18E/F application has been well underway as a replacement for the older ALE-50 system.
U.S. procurement funding for the ALE-55 is provided in the Department of Defense's Airborne Expendable Countermeasures program, which purchases countermeasure self-protection devices for all Navy and Marine Corps rotary aircraft, and tactical and other fixed-wing aircraft. Through the DoD's AECM program, $361 million is scheduled to be spent through 2024 on ALE-55 units and other systems for Navy and Marine Corps applications.
Meanwhile, an eventual ALE-55 replacement - the Dual Band Decoy (DBD) - is on the horizon. In October 2019, the U.S. Navy awarded contracts to BAE Systems and Raytheon, valued at $36.7 million and $33 million respectively, to help determine the best fit to meet F/A-18E/F decoy requirements through a 27-month development and demonstration phase. The DBD will likely start to replace the ALE-55 FOTD later in the decade.