The US Air Force (USAF) and Raytheon have upgraded the navigation system of the miniature air launched decoy-jammer (MALD-J).

Designated as global positioning system (GPS)-aided inertial navigation system (GAINS II), the upgrade includes an improved multi-element GPS controlled antenna assembly that helps enhance the navigation performance of MALD-J in a GPS jamming environment.

Several improvements and efficiencies enhanced within the MALD-J design have also helped cut down on GAINS II unit costs.

In order to validate the performance of MALD-J’s upgraded navigation system, six flight trials have been conducted from the USAF’s strategic bomber B-52 and F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft at White Sands Missile Range, in New Mexico, US.

Raytheon MALD Programmes director Brian Burton said: “Improving performance while reducing costs is a win for Raytheon and our customer.”

While the design work for GAINS II has been provided by Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems in El Segundo, California, the systems engineering, integration and testing were supported by Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona, US.

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Currently, the US company is manufacturing and supplying MALD-J systems with the upgraded navigation technology.

"MALD is an air-launched, programmable and low-cost expendable flight vehicle, which weighs less than 300lb, and has a range of approximately 500nm."

MALD is an air-launched, programmable and low-cost expendable flight vehicle, which weighs less than 300lb, and has a range of approximately 500nm.

MALD-J provides radar-jamming capability to the basic MALD platform, which duplicates friendly aircraft flight profiles and radar signatures to confuse enemy air defences.

The delivery of MALD-J systems originally began in autumn 2012.

Image: An F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft carrying two miniature air-launched decoys (red). Photo: courtesy of Service Depicted: US Air Force.