The US Air Force and Raytheon have successfully conducted the first free-flight test of the miniature air-launched decoy-jammer (MALD-J), setting the stage for a critical design review in 2010.

The MALD-J, which will add radar-jamming capability to the basic MALD platform, also concluded phase II risk reduction with a free flight test.

A state-of-the-art, low-cost flight vehicle, the MALD-J is modular, air-launched and programmable.

It weighs less than 300lb and has a range of up to 500nm.

US Air Force MALD programme manager Ken Watson said that achieving this milestone proves MALD-J has a technology readiness level 7 and sets the stage for the system to enter engineering and manufacturing development.

Raytheon MALD programme director Scott Muse said the modular MALD-J gives the warfighter expendable, stand-in jamming capability.

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“MALD-J will eliminate or reduce the need to send aircrews into danger to conduct suppression of enemy air defense missions,” Muse said.

The MALD-J, scheduled for production in the beginning of 2011, has recently completed captive carry test missions and a C decision.