Raytheon announced that it deployed two Miniature Air Launched Decoy instrumented shapes from the ramp of a C-130 transport via a new company-funded launch system. This test at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz., marked MALD’s first deployment from a cargo aircraft. The MALD Cargo Air Launched System, or MCALS, has a steel, birdcage-like body framework that can hold as many as eight MALDs, according to the company. It is loaded on a standard cargo pallet, placed on a transport aircraft, and at a pre-determined altitude rapidly ejects the MALDs. “MCALS opens the door for the non-traditional use of a high-capacity aircraft to deliver hundreds of MALDs during a single combat sortie,” said Harry Schulte, Raytheon’s vice president of air warfare systems. In addition to the decoy configuration, Raytheon is also developing a MALD variant for stand-in jamming of enemy radar.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.