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Ukrainian MiG-29s can carry mysterious ADM-160 MALD decoy drones for 450 km

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar May23,2024

Ukrainian MiG-29s can carry mysterious ADM-160 MALD decoy drones for 450 km

Two ADM-160 MALD decoy drones are suspended under the wings of the fighter. In the spring of 2023, they were unofficially transferred to the USA. The devices are used to overload Russian air defense during strikes.

Ukrainian MiG-29 fighters can carry mysterious ADM-160 MALD trap drones for 450 km. We are talking about the systems supplied to Ukraine by the United States. The Defense Express portal writes about this.

Perhaps additional adaptation for Soviet aircraft was needed. If you look at the photo of the MiG-29 fighter of one of the tactical aviation brigades of the Air Force of Ukraine, then, at first glance, there is nothing unusual there. But upon closer examination, two ADM-160 MALD decoy jet drones, unofficially handed over by Washington in the spring of 2023, will be suspended under the plane's wings. They are periodically used to overload Russian air defense during missile strikes.

The photo of the MiG-29 of the ZSU is valuable in several aspects. First, ADM-160 MALDs can only be launched from aircraft, and it is confirmed that Ukrainian MiG-29s can be used to launch these drones. Secondly, this is the first photo confirming the presence of the ADM-160 MALD in the Defense Forces.

Ukrainian MiG-29 can carry mysterious decoy drones ADM- 160 MALD

The internal structure of the ADM-160 MALD, images from open sources

It is noteworthy that to date, only two photos of the wreckage of the drone, taken in the temporarily occupied territory, could indicate that the ADM-160 MALD is in the hands of the Ukrainian defenders. The drones were handed over to the US; now it is possible to estimate the probable format of their use, although not all of them are input.

The first feature of the ADM-160 MALD — jet drones are designed to simulate various types of air targets when breaking through an enemy air defense system. The second — high-tech and at the same time small-sized drones with a starting weight of only 45 kg, a fuselage length of 2.38 m and a wingspan of 0.65 m, while the launch range can be 450-570 km, depending on the modification.

There were only two ADM-160 MALD under the Ukrainian MiG-29. But, according to current calculations, it is already possible to hang four similar “bait” on the F-16 fighter, on the A-10 attack aircraft — up to ten, and on the B-52H strategic bomber — even 12.

Whether it was necessary to adapt the MiG-29 to the ADM-160 MALD is still unknown. But the authors of the publication note that these drones have become the smallest element of the combat load under aircraft during a full-scale war against the Russian Federation.

Analysts recalled an incident that occurred in January 2024 with the Ministry of Defense of Russia. The department boasted that they hit two ADM-160 MALDs. Not only did the Russians call these drones “guided air missiles,” they also admitted that they took the bait.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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