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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Raytheon Eyes Upgrades for MALD

Raytheon is looking at options to further diversify the capabilities of its Miniature Air Launched Decoy (Mald). 

blog post photoMald on the interior station of the left wing of an F-16. source: Raytheon

Though officials are mum about the potential upgrade plans, there were hints at Raytheon's Tucson, Ariz., plant this week. One indicated a plan to potentially weaponize and network the decoy. 

Another, was a poster displaying the Mald with C-130 and C-17 aircraft. According to sources close to the program, the company is developing a standard palette-based magazine for ejection of up to eight Malds. 

The goal is to develop a magazine frame for up to eight Malds. The system is designed to rapidly eject the Malds when the cargo aircraft -- a C-130 or C-17 -- reaches a specific altitude and opens the rear cargo door. 

Raytheon has demonstrated the ejection of weight-representative surrogates from a C-130 ramp equipped with the cargo launch system. Traditionally, Mald is carried by fighter or bomber aircraft. 

This capability would allow the Air Force to rapidly fill the airspace with multiple jammers and decoys during an air campaign without using up space on the weapons stations of its fighter and bomber aircraft. 

The system weights just under 300 lb and can travel about 500 naut. mi. Under contract with the Air Force, Raytheon has developed the standard Mald as well as a jammer version (Mald-J).

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