You are on page 1of 3


The development of chaff as a radar coun-

termeasure started in the Second World
War by both the British and the Germans
each unaware they shared the same secret.
In July 1942, Lady Joan Curran investigated
the idea of generating a cloud of false radar
echoes by dumping packets of aluminium
stripes froman aircraft. The invention orig-
inated from the idea by Doctor Reginald
Victor (R.V.) Jones in 1937, that a piece of
metal foil (Dipole) cut to half the wave-
length of the transmitter radar frequency
could be used dispersed from aircraft and
create false target echos to deceive enemy
radar operators. The invented device was
codenamed Window by the British, Chaff
by the Americans, and Duppel in Germany
(named for the Berlin district where the
first tests took place in 1942). However,
Duppel saw limited use by the Germans
during World War II as Field Marshall
Goering thought it would invite retaliation.
Thus, he ordered subsequent technical
records destroyed.
The decision not to use the Window
application was a much debated and
well-kept secret by the highest levels in
Allied Command. It wasnt until early 1943
that Prime Minister Winston Churchill
approved and authorized its use. A couple
of weeks later, Window was first used by
the Royal Air Force (RAF) during Operation
GOMORRAH the devastating air-raids
on Hamburg. During this operation, 90 mil-
lion aluminized paper strips were dis-
persed, each measuring 12 by 0.6 inches.
Window greatly contributed to the confu-
sion of the Wurzburg radar system and its
operators, blinding them almost com-
pletely and rendering the German air
defence batteries useless. Out of the 791
RAF bombers deployed, only 12 did not
return, whereas in previous missions,
without the use of Window, more than
10% of the aircrafts had been lost.
For a long time, Window was only used
to attack the German Wurzburg radar sys-
tems. Quite notably, and along with other
deceptive devices, it was later used to pro-
vide the two false-target (fictitious) fleets
during the D-Day invasion components
of Operations Glimmer and Taxable. The
success of these operations was greatly
contributed to by the Canadian destroyer
HMCS Haida, which was designated as the
lead ship for trials off the coast of Scotland
a couple of months prior to the planned
invasion. Haida, along with the Sterling and
Lancaster bombers and smaller seaborne
vessels, conducted extensive and successful
testing trials which led to the enabling and
success of these two operations.
Today Window, which is more commonly
referred to as Chaff, is used by many
modern military forces to distract radar
guided missiles off their targets.
Three different types of Chaff Coun-
termeasures techniques are commonly
used. These are Chaff C (Charlie) for Con-
fusion, Chaff D (Delta) for Distraction and
Chaff S (Sierra) for Seduction. Each are
deployed differently to provide the desired
deception effect during the different phases
of an active radar missile attack with the
ultimate aimof creating deception to either
the firing units targeting radars or the
FrontLine Defence
Issue 4, 2011
Chaff S: Seduction
by Peter Huber
Chaff C: Launched before the enemys
targeting radar turns on. The aim is to pro-
vide numerous equally sized false targets-
thus creating confusion to the firing unit in
its target selection prior to launch. In order
for the chaff clouds to be effective after
deployment, one must maintain a similar
course and speed to that of the true wind.
Chaff D: Launched just prior to when the
active homing seeker of the in-flight
enemy missile is believed to turn on and
search for its target based on its pre-pro-
grammed firing data. The aim is to distract
the enemy missile from its intended target
by creating additional false targets. As in
Chaff C, it is imperative to manoeuvre and
maintain a course and speed with that of
the true wind.
Chaff S: Launched when the fired missile
is locked-on to its intended victim. This is
usually indicated by its flight path plus the
electronic emission parametric search pat-
tern changes detected by the victims Elec-
tronic Support (ES) sensor operator. The
intent of Chaff S is to walk the missile away
from its intended target by fooling the mis-
sile tracking sensors and having it track
and follow the deployed chaff. However,
instead of using true wind, the targeted
ship needs to manuvre to create the
desired relative wind and speed to cause
separation and lure the missile to the
deployed chaff. Because of the shorter
timeline, Chaff S may be re-sown at rapid
intervals to produce this desired effect.
Historic image or photo
of chaff components?
active radar seeker in the missile head
and/or the firing platforms operators.
During any of these Chaff applications
or disciplines, timing is of the essence. Of
themall, the most critical is deterring a mis-
sile during the deployment of Chaff S, just
before the missile is about to impact.
Improvements in the deployment and the
understanding and use of calculable data
for a successful Chaff S tactical deployment
is the main topic of this article.
Passive Countermeasures
The tactical design of a passive counter-
measure scenario combines technical infor-
mation such as the estimated timeframe,
the seeker tracking type (Leading Edge and
Centroid), the track gate depth/pulse
width, cloud design and geometry, and also
separation characteristics between the ship
and the deployed chaff cloud. Another
important consideration is the wind com-
pensation between different chaff firing
times of a softkill countermeasure system,
in order to increase its effectiveness against
a modern seeker which may use a small
track gate depth.
Passive countermeasures, through the
use of Chaff Sierra, are well-known engage-
ments and have proven their effectiveness
in many international trials. Improving
effectiveness requires a thorough under-
standing of many parameters, such as the
defensive and manuvrability abilities of
your own ship, and a detailed knowledge
and understanding your Radar Cross Sec-
tion (RCS) how will the attacking missile
see you?
The diagram below shows that signif-
icant deviations between roll angles will
occur, sometimes as much as 10 times
higher. This diagram ignores additional
types of radar propagation or ducting
effects (which are highly influenced by
environmental conditions), therefore it can
serve only as an indication of how the
attacking missile may see you. To have a
more precise view, additional data of your
own ships RCS distribution, the missile
and seeker data, and the environmental
data are essential.
Compiled intelligence may provide
you with the missiles known transmitting
or operating values or ranges for: Frequency,
Pulse Width, Pulse Repetition Frequency,
and Scan time; the missiles speed; polari-
sation; beam width; and launch ranges,
including its attack profile. Advance intel
may also provide the recommended coun-
termeasure options.
Known or estimated radar values can
parametrically be reprogrammed into ones
Electronic Support (ES) system, thus cueing
its recognition and increasing the response
timeline. Environmental data (sea state,
wind, ship course and speed, and the
desired turning rate) will assist in your
countermeasure response. Using this data,
a tactical decision to introduce a more accu-
rate chaff countermeasure can be initiated,
including different course-and-speed-alter-
ations to minimize the RCS signature of
your own ship, and optimize the separation
of the deployed chaff cloud which should
foil the missile from its intended target.
Placing the chaff cloud at the right time
and place can spoof the cloud into the mis-
Issue 4, 2011
RCS diagram for different roll angles at 0.28 in 9.0 GHz
The diagram below shows an example of an RCS pattern diagram (for a given ship model)
in different roll angles, at a transmitter/receiver elevation of 0.28 using a frequency meas-
urement of 9.0 GHz (horizontally polarized). The measured RCS values show significant
deviations between the 0 roll angle (blue line) and the +2/2roll angles (red and green lines).
In some aspect angles (i.e. 290), the RCS at the 0 roll angle can be up to 10 times higher
than in the +2/2 roll angles.
Chaff is fired from
the Port Bridge wing
on HMCS Ottawa
during a live fire
siles radar seeker range gate in order to
present a fictitious, but valid target to the
incoming missile, thus deceiving it.
Using passive countermeasures in the
Chaff-S mode limits the effective time that
chaff can be deployed and achieve it poten-
tial mimicking bloom or equivalent RCS
pattern, however, in most cases, an appro-
priate ES sensor can detect this phase via
changes in the missiles scanning tech-
niques (changing from a fast sector scan to
an audible fixed or steady scan tone). The
distance fromwhichlock-oncan be attained
strongly depends on the missile type, and
may vary somewhere between 5 and 8
nautical miles, or in the case of Stand-Off
Anti-Ship missiles, possibly well outside
either ships Air Search radar range.
The attack height of the missile, the
missile seekers transmitting frequency, its
polarization, the ships pitch and roll angle
aspect to the missile while in a manuvre,
as well as the calculated environmental
data, will all impact the available time for
an effective seduction to take place, which,
one can assume, will be very short even
without pre-detection or intelligence,
The use of 3D RCS modelling (see
figure) is one of the best possible methods
of calculating this available data to enable
one to effectivly deceive an anti-ship mis-
sile during a seduction countermeasure.
It has been almost 70 years now since the
first deployment in 1943 and, many mech-
anisms have been created to increase the
ability to effectively calculate and deploy
Chaff. Although the composite make-up of
the Chaff product has not changed much
since then, it is still effective in producing
the same desired effect, and remains
increasingly important in defeating todays
complicated threat in seconds.
Dipl.-Ing. Peter Huber is an engineer based
in Bischofswiesen, Germany. He is a retired
Captain of the German Armed Forces and
has more than 10 years of industrial
experience in the development of tactical
algorithms for passive countermeasure systems.
Current activities focus on his dissertation at
the Universitt der Bundeswehr in Munich
with the topic: Mathematical Optimization
for positioning of decoys in Anti Ship Missile
Defence, as well as on the development of
the ASM simulation software ASMD-CAT.
Issue 4, 2011