90 percent of all aircraft losses in the last 15 years are due to Man Portable Air Defence System (MANPADS) missiles.

Rotor & Wings magazine reported that during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, 12 of the 29 American aircraft lost during combat operation are believed to have been shot down by Iraqi SA-16 Iglas. The Russians have suffered even more from MANPADS in their battles in Afganistan with losses of more than 250 aircraft to Stinger, and more recently in Chechnya.

Passenger aircraft have also faced a threat from terrorists armed with MANPADS. A few examples are;

“The aircraft crashed into the jungle after the rear engine was hit by a missile fired by Tutsi rebel forces shortly after the plane took off from Kindu Airport bound for Kinshasa.”

“Shot down by rebels while climbing after takeoff.”

“Crashed into the sea. Shot down by Abkhazi separatist rebels”.

Since September 11, the terrorism threat has become much more substantial. In addition, the proliferation of MANPADS missiles all around the world makes this a threat that cannot be discounted.

In order to protect a platform against MANPADS, the aircraft should be equipped with a protection suite that includes Missile Warning System and countermeasures equipment. The countermeasures implemented shall conform to commercial aviation standards and the limitations of the environments in which they will operate.

The primary driver for countermeasures requirements is the aircraft IR signature on which the missile’s seeker acquires and “locks-on” to the target. The variation in signatures from one aircraft to the next can be immense. A program office at Wright Patterson AFB asserted that if a helicopter (AH-64) has an IR signature of 1, a turboprop transport (C-130) would be 10, a tactical fighter (F-16) would be 35, and a large jet transport (C-17) would be 100. The IR output of a jammer is often specified as a multiple of the aircraft signature.


Concept and Configuration


RAFAEL - Armament Development Authority is a leading Electronic and Electro-optic Warfare house is a prime supplier of EW and EOW suites to the Israeli Defense Forces as well as forces of other countries. As such, using building blocks developed for other electro-optic systems, RAFAEL is proposing Britening, an airborne protecting suite for passenger aircraft.

Britening protects the aircraft from MANPADS and anti-tank missiles during taxi, take-off and landing, neutralizing all advanced threats that could be used by terrorists.

Britening is based on a unique concept, patent pending number 147238, using state-of-the-art technology developed in-house. In addition, Britening is a cost-effective solution affordable for many types of airborne platforms.

RAFAEL’s Britening is an advanced warning and jamming system and its operational effectiveness is proven and unmatched. The system is based on the most advanced techniques and technologies, using very sensitive detectors integrated to a fast high power-jamming turret. The system includes upgraded capabilities to meet future more advanced threats.

The Britening system is based on the following sub-systems:

• MWTS – Missile Warning and Tracking system
• DIRCM – Directional IR Counter-measures system
• System Controller

The MWTS is passive and operates in the Electro-optic spectrum. The system detects and tracks threats approaching the aircraft and supplies an accurate direction of the threat’s location. The advantage of a passive system over an active one, is the lack of microwave interference with other systems on board and on the ground.

The MWTS data is processed by the system controller which, automatically verifies the threat lethality, and operates the directional IR countermeasures. Also, crucial event data which is collected by Britening is transmitted on the aircraft communication bus (ARINC-429) and can be processed, stored, or transmitted to ground facilities.

The Directional IR Counter-measures are cued by the MWTS in accordance with the direction data (azimuth and elevation), timing and relevant jamming techniques. The DIRCM system has a very fast throughput, thus it can handle multiple threats within a fraction of a second.

  • No flight crew intervention for operation
  • High efficiency directional jammer
  • Optional configurations for any aircraft
  • Wide spatial coverage
  • Multiple threats engagement
  • Storage of all event data
  • Real time event reporting to ground
  • Add-on kit for retrofit

Main features:

Installation - integrated or self-contained
Weight - <150 kg (Including group A)
Environmental - according to RTCA/DO-160D
MTBF - 6000 hours (calculated)