June 14, 2007 Raytheon's Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD) is on track to begin production in 2008 having demonstrated successful powered flight performance when launched from a U.S. Air Force F-16 at Eglin Air Force Base recently. The 120-inch MALD is a low-cost, air-launched, turbojet-powered, swing-wing programmable craft that accurately duplicates the combat flight profiles and signatures of U.S. and allied aircraft. The MALD can be launched from F-16 or B-52 Stratofortress and flies a pre-programmed flight path into hostile air space to stimulate enemy air defenses. In addition to protecting valuable aircraft, MALD offers counter air operations to neutralize, if not destroy, air defense systems that pose a threat.
The MALD was launched over the Gulf of Mexico where it entered engine powered flight, executed a series of maneuvers and operated its payload during the mission. MALD's navigation and guidance were activated on the flight, and no communications with the F-16 were required for the test execution.
Additional MALD free flight tests are scheduled to run through 2007, and the program will transition into production in fiscal year 2008.