YUMA, Ariz., May 31 (UPI) -- Miniature Air Launched Decoys to counter enemy air defenses have been launched from a cargo airframe for the first time.
The successful test at the Yuma Proving Grounds by Raytheon used a C-130 aircraft.
MALD is a state-of-the-art, low-cost flight vehicle that is modular, air-launched and programmable. It weighs less than 300 pounds and has a range of approximately 500 nautical miles.
Raytheon's MALD family includes both the baseline MALD and a stand-in jammer variant called the MALD-J.
"Dispensing the MALD family of weapons from cargo aircraft gives warfighters an important new capability they currently don't have in today's high-threat environment," said Harry Schulte, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems' Air Warfare Systems product line. "MCALS opens the door for the non-traditional use of a high-capacity aircraft to deliver hundreds of MALDs during a single combat sortie."
MCALS has a steel, birdcage-like framework body that can hold as many as eight MALDs. MCALS is loaded on a standard cargo pallet, placed on a transport aircraft and at a pre-determined altitude rapidly ejects the MALDs, which then initiate a standard wing deployment and engine ignition sequence.
"MCALS is another example of the innovative and affordable technologies Raytheon engineers are developing to support the warfighter," said Bob Francois, vice president of Raytheon Advanced Missiles and Unmanned Systems.
The baseline MALD, which is in production, protects aircrew and airborne systems by mimicking the signatures and combat flight profiles of U.S. and allied aircraft. The MALD-J protects aircrew and airborne systems by reducing or eliminating the need for manned stand-in jamming aircraft.