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. Itís 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 will be needed to complete this procurement.