The Air Force and Raytheon began operational testing of the Miniature Air Launched Decoy Jammer and completed four successful flights in four attempts, announced the company on Sept. 24. More MALD-J flight tests are scheduled for the remainder of the year, states the company’s release. The MALD-J adds radar jamming capability to the basic MALD platform, which Air Combat Command cleared for real-world operations in July. “MALD saves lives by saturating enemy integrated air defense systems, causing them to pursue the wrong target instead of attacking our aircraft,” said Harry Schulte, Raytheon’s vice president of Air Warfare Systems. He continued, “With MALD-J, we are building on this combat-proven decoy to provide the warfighter with even more capability.” Overall, the decoy and jammer variants have “achieved 13 successful flight tests in 13 attempts” so far this year, states the release. (See also Miniature Advances.)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.