The US Air Force’s miniature air-launched decoy jammer (MALD-J), developed by Raytheon, has successfully passed critical design review (CDR) and is now ready to enter the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase.

US Air Force MALD programme manager Ken Watson said the air force had conducted a rigorous multidiscipline technical evaluation of MALD-J and determined that it had reached a technical readiness level 7.

A state-of-the-art, low-cost, decoy flight vehicle, MALD is modular, air-launched and programmable. Weighing less than 300lb, it has a range of 500nm.

Used to duplicate the combat flight profiles and signatures of the US and allied aircraft, MALD also offers counter air operations to neutralise air defence systems.

MALD-J will be developed to add radar-jamming capability to the basic MALD platform.

During December 2009, the first free-flight test was conducted on the MALD-J, where it used new software against representative threats.

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Raytheon Missile Systems Air Warfare Systems product line vice-president Harry Schulte said the baseline MALD was currently in production, and the company looked forward to soon beginning MALD-J EMD to meet its 2012 required asset availability commitment to the warfighter.