Custom High Energy X-Ray Imaging specialists x

Mission-Critical Inspection of Counter-Measure Flares

  • Industry Served:
    Military / Manufacturing
  • Technology:
    Digital Radiography / Computed Tomography
  • Products & Services:
    Component placement / Material evaluation
  • Customer Profile:
    A U.S. defense contractor manufacturing counter-measure flares
  • Business Challenge:
    Counter-measure flares are a defensive tactic against incoming missiles; it is critical that they work at the moment they are needed, so all of the flare components and materials must be properly aligned during production
  • Solution:
    A digital radiography system captures X-ray images to verify the placement and attributes of components inside the flares
  • Benefits:
    The Customer is able to meet fault tolerance requirements for the flares it manufactures, and document test results in accordance with DICONDE standards / U.S. military personnel can rely on the flares to help avert an imminent, life-threatening attack on an aircraft

Verifying correct component placement in flares used on military aircraft as a defensive maneuver, ensuring fail-safe deployment in the event of surface-to-air or air-to-air missile attack

The Challenge

Counter-measure flares are a primary defensive component for the nation’s military airplanes and helicopters—including Air Force One. In the event a surface-to-air missile is incoming towards an aircraft, the crew will shoot off counter-measure flares to create a heat signature in the air apart from the aircraft. Since missile guidance systems are heat-seeking (using the heat of the aircraft to do in-air directional adjustments to hit their moving target), the heat of the flares helps to confuse the missile’s guidance system and lessen the risk of a successful hit on the aircraft.

Any instance where counter-measure flares are being deployed is most likely a mission-critical and time-critical situation where lives—and national security—could be at stake. It is imperative that the flares deploy properly to serve their defensive purpose.  The Customer is a defense contractor that designs and manufactures these flares for the U.S. military. They needed a fail-safe means of checking flares during the production process.

The Adaptive Energy Solution

The solution that Adaptive Energy provided combines high-energy X-ray technology with computed tomography to offer digital imaging capabilities. The system captures images of the counter-measure flares and allows the Customer to inspect all the internal components to determine if they are in the correct place, and that the chemical compounds (that activate the flare and create heat) are incorporated in the correct quantity and in the right location.

The images captured are stored digitally, and the system allows reference information (such as part number, date, time, etc.) to be corresponded to and stored with each image. The system image parameters and data storage formats conform to DICONDE standards.


Using the Adaptive Energy solution, the Customer is able to perform thorough inspection of its flares following assembly. It is just as important to ascertain that the flares are safe (i.e., they will not leak or ignite on their own) as it is to ensure they will be ready to deploy in a critical situation.

By combining high-energy X-ray imaging capabilities with digital imaging and information storage, the solution allows the Customer to validate and document its production output and quality to meet government contracting requirements. And, most importantly, the nation’s military forces have working counter-measure flares at their disposal at the moment they need them the most.

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