The US Air Force has tasked Raytheon with studying the feasibility of two key upgrades for a jammer platform now in development. The $12.2 million deal, awarded in mid-January, indicates that the air force has found gaps in the capabilities offered by the company's developmental miniature air launched decoy jammer (MALD-J).
Raytheon engineers will evaluate the technical maturity of a radio frequency datalink and "further increases" in jammer power levels. "This will enhance MALD-J's ability to function as a key component in a system of electronic warfare systems," says USAF MALD programme manager Ken Watson.
The baseline MALD-J, which should weigh less than 136kg (300lb) and fly a maximum of about 925km (500nm), is designed to penetrate defended airspace and jam hostile radar emitters from inside the tracking range of surface-to-air missiles. The design changes, if approved, would be incorporated into a new Block II configuration.
Raytheon received an $80.2 million contract in March 2008 to launch the second phase of risk-reduction and development work on the MALD-J, which is scheduled to enter service in late fiscal year 2013.