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ADM-160 MALD: Wikis


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An F-16 carrying two Miniature Air-launched decoys (red) during a 1999 test.

The ADM-160 MALD is a decoy missile developed by the United States of America.



The Miniature Air-Launched Decoy (MALD) program was begun in 1995 by DARPA as an effort to develop a small, low cost decoy missile for use in the suppression of enemy defences. Teledyne Ryan (acquired by Northrop Grumman in 1999) was granted a development contract for the ADM-160A in 1996, and the first test flight took place in 1999. The evaluation program was finished by 2001.

The ADM-160A carries a Signature Augmentation Subsystem (SAS) which is composed of various active radar enhancers which cover a range of frequencies. The SAS can therefore simulate any aircraft, from the B-52 Stratofortress to the F-117 Nighthawk.

The missile has folded wings to allow more compact carriage. On launch the wings unfold and a TJ-50 turbojet propels the missile on a pre-determined course which is composed of up to 100 different waypoints. An inertial navigation system with GPS support keeps the MALD on course. Although pre-programmed before the aircraft leaves the ground, the course can be modified by the pilot at any point up to launch.

All current US military strike aircraft can carry the MALD. At one time the US Air Force planned to acquire several thousand of them, but increasing costs have prompted a gradual reduction in this number and the numbers were cut back to only a hundred or so demonstrators. The program was all but cancelled after this, but in 2002 the Air Force renewed its interest in the missile and plans to order some 1,500 ADM-160As.


In 2003 the Air Force asked for an evaluation of other MALD derivatives, including an active radar-jamming vehicle. This idea was dropped after indecision about what form such a missile should take, but when interest in the MALD was renewed Raytheon was asked to develop further versions of the basic MALD.

The Miniature Air-Launched Interceptor (MALI) is an armed version of the MALD which could be used against cruise missiles. It has a more powerful engine and a more aerodynamic shape for supersonic flight, and can be updated in mid flight via a command link to aircraft such as the E-3 Sentry AWACS.


  • Length : 2.38 m (7 ft 10 in)
  • Wingspan : 0.65 m (2 ft 2 in)
  • Diameter : 15 cm (6 in)
  • Weight : 45 kg (100 lb)
  • Speed : Mach 0.8
  • Ceiling : Over 9,000 m (30,000 ft)
  • Range : Over 460 km (285 m)
  • Endurance : Over 20 min
  • Propulsion : Hamilton Sundstrand TJ-50 turbojet; 220 N (50 lbf) thrust


This article contains material that originally came from the web article Unmanned Aerial Vehicles by Greg Goebel, which exists in the Public Domain.

See also



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