The USAF has awarded an engineering, manufacturing and design (EMD) contract to Raytheon for its miniature air-launched decoy (MALD) stand-in jammer variant.

The 300lb MALD is a low-cost, decoy flight vehicle that is modular, air-launched and programmable with a range of 500nm (about 575 statute miles).

MALD-J adds radar-jamming capability to the basic MALD platform without altering the decoy’s outer mould line.

Under the $48.9m contract, Raytheon will also put MALD-J through an aggressive series of free-flight and captive-carry tests.

Raytheon’s MALD programme director Scott Muse said this provided a critical capability for the warfighter, and was intended to be ready to meet the required asset available date of 2012.

The company has recently completed a second free-flight test of the MALD-J.

Prior to entering EMD, the MALD-J has successfully completed all 27 test events, following which, it underwent a free-flight test in December 2009.