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Sept. 11, 2012—
Raytheon has delivered about 40 Miniature Air Launched Decoy Jammers to the Air Force since the beginning of September, Joe Staton, the company's MALD growth manager, told the Daily Report.

The MALD-J is the second variant of MALD, following the baseline decoy.

MALD-J adds a radar-jamming capability to the baseline decoy, which is designed to duplicate the combat flight profiles of US and allied aircraft to fool enemy air defenses and help protect aircrews from anti-aircraft missiles.

The Air Force intends to buy about 3,000 of the decoys and jammers. So far, Raytheon has been contracted to deliver about 600, said Staton in a Sept. 10 interview.

Air Combat Command boss Gen. Mike Hostage in late July approved the decoy for use in real-world operations, the milestone known as initial operational capability.

The Air Force is planning to employ the small jet-powered MALDs and MALD-Js on the B-52H and F-16.

In July, Raytheon announced that it has also started integrating MALD on the Navy's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet as part of a small risk-reduction contract.

"On the Air Force side, we obviously want to keep the system robust and upgraded as far as the payloads so we can keep up with the threat," said Staton. "Our next big goal, we think, is to get an official program of record with the Navy and then make some international sales."

Staton said several countries already have expressed an interest in MALD, which he said is the "only stand-in jammer/decoy in production in the world." However, the US government has not issued an official policy authorizing such sales. "But it's close," he added.

Staton said both company officials and the Air Force are confident that "it will be smooth sailing" to advance MALD-J so that it is cleared for combat, too.