In addition, the Navy in December 2002 signed a $22-million contract with developer Israel Military Industries (Ramat Hasharon, Israel) for another 140 ITALDs, which will be delivered in January 2004.
In 2000 five TALDS were upgraded with GPS capability, but the ITALDs received in January are the first that are ready for use in the field.
According to Carol Leyrer, ITALD
integrated-product-team leader at the Navy's PMA-208, the current negotiations with IMI cover the GPS retrofit of 185 ITALDs
, as well as the procurement of five training systems.
Newer free-fliers, such as the ITALD
and MALD, are benefiting from advances in miniaturization and computer technology, which allow them to not only electronically mimic a great variety of aircraft, but to be used as autonomous electronic countermeasures units, jamming and otherwise disrupting enemy electronic defense over wide areas.
First-article and acceptance-test ITALD vehicles from IMI were tested in September and October of last year, according to Leyrer.
Along with the addition of GPS guidance to the ITALD, NAWCAD is also a preplanned product improvement to enhance the decoy's engines for increased reliability and lower manufacturing costs.