Say Hello to MALD

Raytheon will deliver the first miniature air launched decoy to the Air Force on Monday during an acceptance ceremony in Tucson, Ariz., company officials tell the Daily Report. The company began MALD development in 2003 and the first units being delivered are part of the low-rate initial production contract signed in mid 2008. The decoy, certified for operations on the B-52 and F-16, is designed to mimic the performance characteristics of friendly strike aircraft, thereby confusing enemy air defenses, distracting them away from the actual friendly strike aircraft, and helping to force them to reveal their positions for destruction, Mike Spencer, Raytheon’s deputy program director for MALD, said in an interview. MALD and a jammer variant called MALD-J that Raytheon is in the midst of developing for the Air Force are regarded as important components of the US military’s future airborne electronic attack architecture. The company is currently in phase two of risk reduction for the jammer variant, Spencer said. “On the outside, you can’t tell the difference” between the decoy and jammer versions, he said. So far, MALD has performed without a blemish in its flight tests, according to the company.