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Recent MALD-X Advanced Air Launched Decoy Test Is A Much Bigger Deal Than It Sounds Like

Monday, August 27, 2018   (0 Comments)


The Miniature Air-Launched Decoy (MALD) program has matured fairly quietly over the last two decades. At first glance, the mini-cruise missiles, which are used to distract and deceive an enemy air defense system so that a real strike package can succeed and survive, seem fairly unglamorous. But the growing MALD family is among the most exciting and important programs in the Pentagon's air warfare portfolio. 

Now it has been announced that that the latest iteration of the system, the MALD-X, has successfully flown twice, on August 20th and 22nd, over the test ranges off NAWS Point Mugu. This demonstration kicks open the door for a whole new set of MALD capabilities, and tactics to go along with them, that will be essential to America's air dominance in the decades to come.

The ADM-160 MALD program dates back to the 1990s, but at its heart, MALD is based around a tactic as old as warfare itself—the feint. 

The original idea was to use the missile to mimic an attack into enemy airspace by spoofing the radar signatures and flight profiles of American combat aircraft. Rudimentary drones have done similar jobs in decades past, from Vietnam to the Golan Heights to Baghdad. B-52s even had an air-launched decoy system during the Cold War. But MALD differs in that it is a modern, purpose-built, and expendable weapon that can be lugged into combat by an aircraft as small as an F-16 or as large as a ramp-equipped transport plane. It also has a Signature Augmentation System (SAS) that can make it look to radar like a big transport or a stealthy F-117, and everything in between.  READ MORE...

With over 13,000 members internationally, the Association of Old Crows is an organization for individuals who have common interests in Electronic Warfare (EW), Electromagnetic Spectrum Management Operations, Cyber Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA), Information Operations (IO), and other information related capabilities. The Association of Old Crows provides a means of connecting members and organizations nationally and internationally across government, defense, industry, and academia to promote the exchange of ideas and information, and provides a platform to recognize advances and contributions in these fields.