rhomboidus: Heat-seeking missiles home in on the heat being generated by the jet’s engine. Countermeasure flares are launched out of an aircraft and immediately ignite in a *very* hot flame. Now instead of seeing only one big hot target the missiles sees a dozen targets, and has to choose one.
There is a constant battle between missile engineers and countermeasure engineers to design better and better systems. Missiles that can more accurately discriminate between an engine and a flare, and flares that can more accurately simulate the heat of an engine.
bleedingoutlaw28: Well, my understanding is that those missiles use infrared to track targets, so the flares are used to create a bunch of thermal “noise” to confuse the missile’s guidance system. Flares go up, missile can’t distinguish the target from the noise, pilot flies to safety. I think.
I suppose either one of use could just Google it though!
dada7000: ELI5: Flares only work against missiles that are heat-seeking. The flares burn intensely and create a lot of heat which intends to trick the missile into guiding on the flare itself. If the missile stops guiding onto the target aircraft and instead guides on the flare, then the target aircraft survives and the flare served its purpose.
AngelicSnail: Missiles are usually heat seeking so a flares purpose is to misguide the missile instead of whatever it’s going towards engine. It will follow the flair if all works out