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ADM-141A Tactical Air-Launched Decoy (TALD)
ADM-141C Improved TALD (ITALD)

The Tactical Air-Launched Decoy (TALD)/Improved TALD (ITALD) heavy glide/boosted family of passive/active decoys are expendable decoys used in offensive operations against enemy air defense systems by diluting and confusing surface-based and airborne defenses with realistic tactical target characteristics. The TALD is an air-launched, aerodynamic vehicle whose purpose is to minimize the effectiveness of an enemy's air defense system. The TALD is a preprogrammed glide vehicle used to increase the survivability of strike aircraft. The Improved TALD (ITALD) is a TALD which incorporates a propulsion unit. Both systems operate as expendable vehicles with no recovery capabilities. Launch platforms include the F/A-18, F-14, EA-6B, and the P-3.

The TALD is an air launched, preprogrammed, unpowered, glide chaff, RF passive, or RF active vehicle used to deceive and saturate enemy integrated air defenses during strike aircraft operations. The three operational TALD configurations include, the A/B37U-1 (V1) chaff vehicle, A/B37U-1 (V2) radar passive vehicle and the ADM-141A radar active vehicle. While fit, form and function remain the same within version, manufacturing differences have produced variants.

During Operation Desert Storm one effective tactic to fool enemy air defenses involved Navy and Marine Corps (USMC) tactical air launched decoys. The decoys caused Iraqi defenders to turn on their radars, revealing their locations and making them vulnerable to Coalition SEAD aircraft. The tactic confused the Iraqis and helped divert their defensive effort. In the early days of the air campaign, EA-6Bs, A-6Es, and F/A-18s escorted large strike packages into southern Iraq. The F/A-18s, A-6Es, A-7s, and S-3s successfully used TALDs to saturate, confuse, and deceive the air defense system. This tandem combination of soft and hard kill capability proved successful - no Coalition losses to radar-guided SAMs occurred during SEAD escort.

The ITALD is an air launched, preprogrammed, powered RF active vehicle used to deceive and saturate enemy integrated air defenses during strike aircraft operations. It is a Preplaned Product Improvement towhead that adds turbojet propulsion and low-level navigation capability to the TALD. It's official designation is ADM-141C. All four versions are compatible with and can be launched from the A/A37B-6E Multiple Ejector Rack (MER), A/A37B-5E Triple Ejector Rack (TER) or a BRU-42 Improved Triple Ejector Rack (ITER). All versions are approximately 92 inches long with a nominal 10 inches include width and height. The chaff vehicle weighs approximately 380 pounds, while all RF passive and active versions weight approximately 400 pounds. A computer within each vehicle is preprogrammed with flight profile data prior to loading. It provides flight management and controls of the vehicle through a series of planned maneuvers after launch. The ITALD has enhanced terrain tracking capability and an extended flight envelope for expanded missions.

The Improved Tactical Airlaunch Decoy (ITALD) simulates a fighter/attack size aircraft better than current decoys. The present TALD is becoming less capable even when encountering existing threat integrated air defense systems (IADS). There is an approved operational requirements document for buying more of the ITALD units. However, the Navy chose not to buy any in fiscal year 1999 because of competing budget priorities. The Congress directed an increase of $10.0 million for the acquisition of 70 ITALDs. This increase, in addition to ITALDs already funded, will yield roughly enough systems to support two carrier battle groups. Additional funding for ITALD beyond fiscal year 1999 was needed to complete this procurement.

The ITALD can be launched from the Multiple Ejector Rack (MER) or Triple Ejector Rack (TER) family of bomb racks, from fighter and attack aircraft. After launch, the ITALD starts its 150 lbs thrust turbojet engine and is capable of sustained flight at altitudes from 500 ft AGL to 30,000 ft MSL. The ITALD is capable of a maximum Mach number greater than 0.8 and range over 160 nmi with a normal flight time of 20 minutes.

Hot-loading is when an aircraft lands and has ordnance loaded while the engine is still running. Marines from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 conducted a hot-load in F-35B Lightning IIs at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz. on Sept. 21, 2017. This hot-load was conducted using AMRAMM AIM-120 missiles. VMFA-121 is a part of Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. The exercise was a validation/verification conducted during Weapons and Tactics Instructors course 1-18. WTI is an exercise that takes service members from all over the world in a joint training exercise for mission readiness. WTI is hosted by Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron one. The AMRAMM AIM-120 is an air-to-air missile that will be used in conjunction with a Tactical Air Launch Decoy. The TALD was loaded onto an AV-8B Harrier II to be launched and used as a target for the AIM-120. The TALD expendable glide vehicle can mimic the heat and radar signatures of a full-sized aircraft.

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