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First MALD for Operational Testing: Raytheon last month delivered the first miniature air launched decoy (MALD) production unit to the Air Force that will be used in the decoy’s upcoming initial operational test and evaluation phase. "The delivery of the first IOT&E unit means the warfighter is one step closer to gaining the incredible capabilities MALD brings to the fight," said Ken Watson, the Air Force's MALD program manager, in Raytheon’s release. MALD, launched from an F-16 or B-52, is designed to duplicate the combat flight profiles and signatures of US and allied aircraft as a way to confuse and overwhelm enemy air defenses, thereby helping to protect the friendly aircraft. Raytheon is currently building low-rate initial production versions of the MALD for the Air Force. It delivered the first LRIP unit in March. Successful completion of IOT&E will clear the way for production at full rates. Raytheon is also pursuing a jammer variant of MALD for the Air Force.