MALD-J update: AEA survivor takes next step

Raytheon will begin the next phase of development for the US Air Force’s first stand-in jammer platform scheduled to enter operational service after 2013.
The $80.2 million contract announced on 31 March will allow Raytheon to launch the second phase of risk reduction for the jammer variant of the Miniature Air-Launched Decoy (MALD) called MALD-J.
The USAF wants the vehicle to launch against pre-planned targets, jamming the radars of an integrated air defense system before friendly aircraft are detected. The same vehicle, which is intended to be unrecoverable, also must function as a decoy.
Along with an upgrade for the EC-130 Compass Call, MALD-J is all that remains of the USAF’s once-vaunted concept for an airborne electronic attack “systems of systems”, which emerged in 2002.
MALD-J and the now-cancelled Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) would have performed the stand-in jamming role, while the aborted B-52 Stand-off Jammer System would have been aimed at blocking an enemy’s long-range early warning radars.
The US Navy’s Boeing EA-18G Growler, meanwhile, is moving forward in the “escort jamming” role.
The SOJS may be revived in a proposed new programme called Core Component Jammer (CCJ), which has already drawn a teaming agreement by Boeing and Northrop Grumman.
Raytheon declined to comment on MALD-J for this article.
The USAF originally planned to launch development of the MALD-J in 2006, but instead opted to stretch out the schedule by introducing a two-phase risk reduction effort.
MALD in-flight (Source: Raytheon)

Read about the USN’s next-generational jammer concept here.


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4 Responses to MALD-J update: AEA survivor takes next step

  1. ELP 3 April, 2008 at 2:00 am #

    Good reading S.T.

    I wonder how many of those 95 U.S. major weapon systems that GAO announced Monday that have exceeded their original budgets by a total of $295 billion, bringing their total cost to $1.6 trillion, and are delivered almost two years late on average…. had over-used the words: “risk reduction”… in their meetings and planning documents? Most? All?

  2. Royce 3 April, 2008 at 2:18 pm #

    You’d think the easiest thing for the Air Force to do would be to acquire its own fleet of EA-18Gs to replace the navy/Marine Prowlers that it is relying on now. At least the Air Force would know what the program cost and capabilities would be up front.

  3. John S. 3 April, 2008 at 4:13 pm #

    Tell me again why the EF-111A was too expensive to maintain?

    The Aussies are still operating the F-111 airframe, and our EF-111As could have been updated with F110 engines replacing the TF30s ala F-14 Tomcats, updated the EW suite, and added (for the first time!) HARM capability. The EF-111A+ would then have been viable as a supersonic escort jammer well into the 2030s.

    But no, they had to ‘boneyard’ them to save money.

    The USAF may have to buy some EA-18Gs, since the Navy has said that upon retirement of the EA-6B fleet they will no longer be in the joint escort jammer business.

  4. Radar Detector Review 23 July, 2010 at 10:19 pm #

    Charity covers a multitude of sins.

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