The US Naval Research Lab and Raytheon have successfully demonstrated captive flights of modular, rapid replacement architecture for electronic warfare (EW) payloads on the Miniature Air Launched Decoy-Jammer (MALD-J).
Conducted during the biannual Northern Edge exercise in Alaska, the test saw the use of four separately developed EW payloads, called Cerberus, in 12 operationally relevant missions. The payloads were designed for MALD vehicle.
Naval Research Laboratory Electronic Warfare Strategic Planning Organization head Dr Jeff Heyer said: "The Cerberus design is cost-effective and expands MALD capabilities to address new missions and target sets.
"It’s a sensible approach for mitigating payload obsolescence."
For the flight test, the interchangeable payloads were swapped onto the captive carry vehicle in less than one minute, the company stated.
Under a four-year programme, Raytheon developed a payload system architecture integrated with a quick interchange structural connection.
The programme was carried out in collaboration with US Pacific Command and Naval Air Systems Command (PMA-234).
The technology for the quick-attachment technique was received from IndyCar racing technology. Cerberus adapted the half-turn quick lock developed by Dallara.
During Northern Edge, a MALD vehicle was carried below a Sabreliner, with the payload controlled from within the aircraft cabin. This tool allows the evaluation of payload performance, and also supports real-time control and data analysis during a flight test.
Heyer added: "The successful Military Utility Assessment during Northern Edge 15 demonstrated the Cerberus design’s capacity to expand MALD capabilities to address new missions and target sets.
"There is a high-demand signal from the operational forces to deliver this capability to the warfighter now."