PARIS AIR SHOW: Raytheon advances MALD-J, as UK eyes derivative

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Raytheon is hailing a key advance in the development of a jamming variant of its miniature air-launched decoy (MALD) for the US Air Force, and is also talking to the UK about the capabilities of a separate derivative.

The ADM-160C MALD-J jammer recently completed a joint preliminary design review, and a critical design review is on track for early next year. Captive carry tests have recently been conducted, and a free-flight demonstration of the 925km (500nm)-range system is scheduled for later this year.

With Phase 1 risk-reduction work having concluded late last year, Raytheon MALD business development manager Michael Spencer says: "We have 100% success on our testing, and the jammer programme remains ahead of schedule. We are on track to deliver to the USAF when they want it."

Raytheon delivered its first baseline MALD decoy to the USAF on 17 March. The system, which weighs less than 136kg (300lb), will next undergo initial operational test and evaluation, initially for carriage by the Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter and Boeing B-52 bomber.

The air force has so far signed contracts for two low-rate initial production lots, and a full-rate decision is due by early 2011.

Meanwhile, Spencer says the UK has requested "an unclassified technical briefing" on a MALD-V derivative of the design, which does not contain a mission payload. He declines to comment on a potential role or equipment fit for a UK application, noting only that "MALD-V is payload agnostic. Other countries may have their own payload out there."