MALD is a programmable, low-cost, modular, autonomous flight vehicle that mimics U.S. or allied aircraft to confuse enemy Integrated Air Defense Systems (IADS).
MALD-J adds radar jamming capability to the basic decoy platform and can operate alone or in concert with other EW platforms. The jammer version is designed as an expendable, close-in jammer to degrade and deny an early warning or acquisition radar’s ability to establish a track on strike aircraft. It also maintains the ability to fulfill the basic decoy mission.
F-16 or B-52 are lead employment aircraft for MALD. USAF capped procurement in FY12, converting Lot 4 to the MALD-J variant. Plans call for 3,000, of which 2,400 are the jammer version.
USAF demonstrated in-flight retargeting capabilities and is integrating GPS-Aided Inertial Navigation System (GAINS II) to improve navigational accuracy in GPS-denied environments. An upgraded Jammer variant dubbed “MALD-X” successfully demonstrated future, low-level flight capabilities, improved EW payloads, and enhanced data links in 2018.
MALD-X aims to establish USAF’s future baseline and serves as the basis of the Navy’s developmental MALD-N variant. USAF awarded a MALD-J contract option for Lot 10 production in 2016 and a follow-on Lot 11 contract for 250 weapons in 2018.
First Flight: 1999 (MALD); 2009 (MALD-J).
Delivered: Sept. 6, 2012 (MALD-J).
IOC: 2015 (MALD-J).
Active Variants: •ADM-160B. MALD base decoy variant. •ADM-160C. MALD-J jammer/decoy variant.
Dimensions: Span 5.6 ft (extended), length 9.3 ft. Weight: Less than 300 lb.
Power Plant: Hamilton Sundstrand TJ-150 turbojet, 337 lb thrust.
Performance: Range up to 575 miles, endurance 90 minutes (50 minutes on-station loiter).
Integration: B-52H, F-16C. Planned: B-1B.