TUCSON, March 7 (UPI) -- U.S. company Raytheon has successfully checked out a low-cost unmanned and programmable decoy flight vehicle.
"The Miniature Air Launched Decoy, a Raytheon Company state-of-the-art, low-cost, modular air- launched programmable flight vehicle, successfully completed government and Raytheon seamless verification team flight testing Jan. 11. This sets the stage for the MALD to enter low rate initial production -- LRIP -- later this year," Raytheon said in a statement last week.
"The testing, which began in June 2007, put the MALD through a series of flight profiles including jettison and powered flight tests from both F-16 and B-52 aircraft. The MALD, which weighs less than 300 pounds and has a range of approximately 500 nautical miles -- about 575 statute miles -- succeeded in 33 of 35 tests," the company said.
"Completion of this flight testing brings the versatile MALD platform one step closer to becoming a staple in the war fighter's arsenal," said Harry Schulte, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems' Strike product line.
"MALD is more than just a decoy -- we designed it with modularity in mind to evolve as the war fighter's needs evolve. We're ready to get the MALD to LRIP," Schulte said.
Raytheon said it had 2007 sales of $21.3 billion. The company describes itself as "a technology leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning more than 85 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 72,000 people worldwide."