The Air Force has cleared Raytheon’s Miniature Air Launched Decoy Jammer for low-rate initial production, according to the company, which anticipates making initial deliveries in 2012. “MALD-J will save the lives of aviators because commanders will be able to use MALD-J to conduct dangerous stand-in jamming missions instead of using manned aircraft to do the job,” said Harry Schulte, vice president of the company’s Air Warfare Systems product line. The MALD-J adds radar-jamming capability to the basic MALD platform, an air-launched decoy designed to confuse enemy air defenses by duplicating the characteristics of US and allied aircraft, thus protecting those aircrews. The baseline decoy already has entered the Air Force’s inventory. Along with the production nod, Raytheon said the Air Force has exercised a contract option to convert Lot 4 production of the baseline decoy to the jammer variant. (Raytheon release)
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.