U.S. Air Force finds new effective ways to overcome the modern air defense system. According to Ashley Mehl, Raytheon, the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force successfully collaborated with Raytheon Company for the first flight demonstration of a Miniature Air Launched Decoy Jammer (MALD-J) equipped with a radio data link. Adding the data link expands the weapon’s situational awareness and allows for in-flight targeting adjustments.
Raytheon flew a captive carry mission from the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma (Arizona) to support a Marine Corps Weapons and Tactics Instructor exercise. The exercise used the USMC’s recently released Electronic Warfare Services Architecture protocol and a Tactical Targeting Network Technology radio.
«This flight test shows MALD-J’s ability to integrate new technology that will provide the warfighter more capabilities on the battlefield», said Mike Jarrett, vice president of Air Warfare Systems for Raytheon Missile Systems. «The Marines are operationalizing the Marine Air Ground Task Force Cyberspace and Electronic Warfare Coordination Cell and Raytheon is part of this forward-thinking solution to a complex problem».
MALD-J carried out its assigned radar-jamming mission on the range and was able to send situation awareness data to the Electronic Warfare Battle Manager (EWBM). The EWBM used this information to adjust the MALD’s mission while in flight.
The MALD is a low-cost, air-launched programmable craft that accurately duplicates the combat flight profiles and signatures of U.S. and allied aircraft. MALD is a flexible and modular system that has the potential to keep aviators and aircraft out of harm’s way. MALD is an expendable air-launched flight vehicle that looks like a U.S. or allied aircraft to enemy integrated air defense systems (IADS).
The U.S. and its allies can confuse and deceive enemy IADS by sending a formation of MALDs into hostile airspace. MALD weighs less than 300 pounds (136 kg) and has a range of approximately 500 nautical miles (575 statute miles, 926 km). After it is launched from its host aircraft, MALD flies a preprogrammed mission.
In addition to protecting valuable aircraft, MALD offers counter air operations to neutralize air defense systems that pose a threat to U.S. and allied pilots.
MALD-J is the jammer variant of the basic decoy, and the first ever stand-in jammer to enter production. The unmanned MALD-J navigates and operates much closer than conventional Electronic Warfare to the victim radar when jamming the electronics, allowing aviators and aircraft to stay out of harm’s way. Moreover, it is able to loiter in the target area for an extended period – plenty of time to complete the mission.
MALD-J can operate alone or in pairs, but is designed to work with and leverage other electronic warfare platforms. Raytheon began delivery of MALD-Js in the fall of 2012.