Electronic Weapons: June 21, 2003


Despite the low losses to enemy air defenses in the last two decades, you can't afford to get complacent. So the U.S. Air Force has completed a competition between several aerospace companies and has issued an $88 million dollar development contract for a new powered decoy. The new MALD (miniature air-launched decoy) design is 9.5 feet long, and has pop-out wings that give it a five foot wingspan. The 200 pound MALD is powered by a small turbojet engine and can fly up to Mach .93 (1000 kilometers an hour) for 45 minutes at 35,000 feet or 20 minutes at 3,000 feet. It can be programmed to fly a specific course to try and get enemy air defenses to open up, so they can be spotted and destroyed. MALDs can also be used in swarms to overwhelm enemy air defenses. Testing and development will begin this year and the MALD should be ready for service by 2007. Each will cost about $125,000.


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