The US 7th Fleet and the Navy Warfare Development Command (NWDC) have evaluated maritime obscurant generator prototypes to test their ability to safeguard naval assets against anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles.
Carried out under a variety of at-sea conditions using assets from the US Army, Navy and Air Force in Guam, the multi-ship experiment tested the tactical effectiveness of the man-made carbon-fibre clouds for anti-ship missile defence.
During testing, a shipboard device generated the carbon-fibre particles, which were suspended in a cloud of smoke and could absorb or diffuse radar waves emanating from the seekers of incoming missiles, thereby hiding friendly ships from those missiles.
7th Fleet Warfighting Initiatives Group head captain David Adams said: "We are developing a layered approach, using a full spectrum of active and passive capabilities to give us the advantage.
"A defence-in-depth approach has a lot of advantages. Not only do we know the smoke is effective, it adds a level of uncertainty and unpredictability to the equation.
"Our initial assessment is the testing was very successful in terms of tactical employment, usability and cost-effectiveness."
US 7th Fleet science adviser Antonio Siordia said Pandarra Fog showed the value of quickly bringing together scientific and joint forces to tackle the military's problems.
"This isn't just smoke or chaff, this is high-tech obscurant, which can be effective against an array of missile homing systems," Siordia said.
US 7th Fleet commander admiral Robert Thomas said: "Pandarra Fog is [an] example of the quick-turn integrated technical and tactical development the fleet is doing to master electromagnetic manoeuvre warfare and assure access of joint forces."
As well as a significant level of effectiveness, the environmentally friendly systems are relatively inexpensive when compared to other countermeasures, and can be tactically employed in typical fleet manoeuvres.
Image: USS Mustin, USS Wayne E. Meyer and USS Frank Cable test maritime obscurant generator prototypes south of Guam. Photo: courtesy of the US Navy, photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Wilson / Released.