The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical (TRA) a $24.4 million contract to develop and demonstrate a miniature air-launched decoy (MALD) designed to knock out air defences.

The MALD advanced concept technology demonstration (ACTD) involves using a small, inexpensive air-launched decoy for the suppression of enemy air defences (SEAD) mission.

The decoys could be deployed by inbound formations of attack aircraft to saturate air-defence surveillance radars with multiple false targets.

It follows the DARPA Small Engine Advanced Programme in which Sundstrand Power Systems successfully developed a small turbojet engine for the MALD.

TRA is scheduled to provide the US Air Force with 32 operational MALDs in concluding work on the contract.

Tactics, aircrew training and a refined concept of operations will also result from the ACTD.

TRA must also deliver a MALD production proposal to the US Air Force at the end of the 30-month contract.

Each MALD must have a flyaway price of $30,000 or less.

Source: Flight International