US Air Force to spend $118 million on decoy planes to confuse enemy defences

Lot 9 mald-jRaytheonA Raytheon MALD-J attached to the pylon of a B-52.

The US Air Force just offered Raytheon $118 million for a contract to provide Lot 9 Miniature Air Launched Decoy Jammers (MALD-J) to support their aircraft, UPI reports.

MALD-Js launch from aircraft like a missile, but instead of striking a target, they duplicate the flight profiles and the radar signatures of the aircraft that launched them, thereby acting as a decoy. 

With the MALD-Js, a fighter jet can send out a decoy as it approaches a protected airspace. When enemy air defences fire on the decoy, they reveal their position and deplete their ammunition, which is often costly. Many of today’s best air defence systems, like Russia’s S-400, are road-mobile, and therefore hard to find.

The MALD-Js, which weigh just 300 pounds and have a range of 500 nautical miles, can theoretically force these missile batteries to reveal themselves to the real combat aircraft that lag behind.

Even better than most decoy systems, these can also have jamming capabilities which can further cripple enemy air defence systems.

This video offers a breif explainer of how the MALD-Js work:

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