Cobham Composites (Suffolk, Va., USA) reported on June 6 that the U.S. Air Force successfully completed a flight test on March 21 of a MALD-J (Miniature Air-Launched Decoy) with a composite external casing produced by Cobham integrated into the airframe. This test successfully met all EMD-4 flight test objectives conducted at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., USA, and qualifies the MALD-J Program to continue into Operational Test. Cobham developed what it describes as an innovative, low-cost manufacturing process for MALD at its facility in Suffolk.
MALD is a state-of-the-art, low-cost flight vehicle that is modular, air-launched and programmable. It weighs less than 300 lb/136 kg and has a range of approximately 500 nautical miles (about 575 statute miles). Currently integrated on the B-52 bomber and F-16 fighter aircraft, MALD can be certified on any aircraft with a 14-inch suspension carriage. Raytheon Missile Systems (Tucson, Ariz., USA) is the prime contractor for the MALD program. Cobham is responsible for the composite casing under contract to Raytheon.
“This is an important program, and this successful testing milestone represents a significant step in achieving a fully qualified MALD airframe assembly in support of Raytheon and their customer’s needs,” said Fred Cahill, vice president of Cobham Antenna Systems.