Warplanes: July 24, 2000


: even air-to-air surveillance of passing aircraft.--Stephen V Cole

Northrop Grumman is continuing work on its Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD) and wants to sell the Air Force 150 of them to provide an emergency decoy force in the event of the next air campaign. MALD is small (only 91 inches long) and has very long range. It has a signal enhancer to make the small missile look like a full-sized fighter plane. The British want to buy some MALDs for their attack forces, but only after the US buys in. The Air Force wants the missiles but is trying to find the money. Northrop Grumman is offering the missile for other missions as well:

@ Cruise missile interceptor, with a range of 200 miles, using the seeker from Stinger. This interceptor would fly at supersonic speeds but would conduct its intercept maneuver at subsonic speeds.

@ An airborne jammer would have less power than a manned aircraft, but could be risked closer to the enemy air defenses.

@ To attract Navy business, MALD is being offered in a submarine-launched version that could function as an interceptor or jammer. This would allow a submarine close to the enemy coast to fire jammers into enemy air defenses to support attacks by carrier aircraft.

@ A ground launched version of the cruise missile interceptor is being offered to the Army. Fired by MLRS artillery systems (using a Hellfire missile as a booster), it could intercept cruise missiles. Cheaper than the Humvee-launched AMRAAM variant, it has less capability against manned

@ The Army wants to use MALD as a target drone for air defense systems.

@ Northrop Grumman is offering a missile built on MALD design concepts as a stand-off land attack missile in direct competition with Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

@ A final variant is designed to compete for the Air Force's Miniaturized Munitions program. Possible targets include mobile missile launchers. This variant of MALD would use the seeker and submunition from the Brilliant




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