Raytheon and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems have joined forces to integrate the Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD) onto the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft.

The companies say that ground verification tests were completed in November 2012 at General Atomics' Gray Butte flight operations facility in Palmdale, California. Integration of Raytheon's MALD onto the General Atomics-built aircraft is expected to be completed in 2013.

"Integrating MALD weaponry on remotely piloted aircraft systems is integral to maintaining air superiority in today's and tomorrow's conflicts," says Harry Schulte, Raytheon's vice president of air warfare systems. "This new offering provides unprecedented electronic warfare capability enabling remote, unmanned suppression of enemy air defenses"

 RAF Reaper - Crown Copyright

 Crown Copyright

The two companies are funding the integration effort with their own money. The US Air Force does not have a current requirement for the MALD or its jamming variant, the MALD-J, to be integrated onto the Reaper.

According to Raytheon, the MALD is designed to confuse an integrated air defense system (IADS) after which "kinetic weaponry" are used to "permanently disable IADS nodes"

Source: Flight International