In recent years, the survivability of an aircraft has been put to task more than ever before. One of the main reasons is the increase in the usage of Infrared (IR) guided Anti-Aircraft Missiles, especially due to the availability of Man Portable Air Defence System (MANPADS) with some terrorist groups. Thus, aircraft IR signatures are gaining more importance as compared to their radar, visual, acoustic, or any other signatures.
The exhaust plume ejected from the aircraft is one of the important sources of IR signature in military aircraft that use low bypass turbofan engines for propulsion. The focus of the present work is modelling of spectral IR radiation emission from the exhaust jet of a typical military aircraft and to evaluate the aircraft susceptibility in terms of the aircraft lock-on range due to its plume emission, for a simple case against a typical Surface to Air Missile (SAM). The IR signature due to the aircraft plume is examined in a holistic manner. A comprehensive methodology of computing IR signatures and its affect on aircraft lock-on range is elaborated. Commercial CFD software has been used to predict the plume thermo-physical properties and subsequently an in-house developed code was used for evaluating the IR radiation emitted by the plume. The LOWTRAN code has been used for modeling the atmospheric IR characteristics. The results obtained from these models are in reasonable agreement with some available experimental data. The analysis carried out in this paper succinctly brings out the intricacy of the radiation emitted by various gaseous species in the plume and the role of atmospheric IR transmissivity in dictating the plume IR signature as perceived by an IR guided SAM.