F-14 launching a TALD

The ADM-141A/B TALD was an American decoy missile originally built by Brunswick Corporation for the United States Air Force and the Israeli Air Force. Later it transitioned to joint US/Israeli manufacture with Israeli Military Industries Advanced Systems Division (IMI-ASD).

The Tactical Air Launched Decoy (TALD) was intended to confuse and saturate enemy air defenses, as part of an overall SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) strategy, thus allowing attacking aircraft and weapons a higher probability of penetrating to the target. The Improved TALD (Abbreviated: ITALD) is a turbojet-powered version, granting extended range.


In the 1970s, the Brunswick Corp. developed several unpowered radar decoys, including the Samson, which was produced for the Israeli Air Force by Israel Military Industries (IMI) in the early 1980s. The Samson proved highly successful, prompting the US Navy to purchase about 2000 of them during the mid to late 1980s. The first units entered US service in 1987; in 1985, Brunswick was asked to develop an improved Samson named TALD.


The TALD resembles the modern ground-attack cluster munition dispensing AGM-154 JSOW, with a square fuselage that tapers into a horizontal line near the nose and flip out wings. The tail control surfaces and stabilizers differ, as the TALD resembles conventional aircraft with two horizontal stabilizers and one vertical stabilizer. This configuration causes the stabilizers, which are at 90 degree angles, to reflect any incoming radar back at the source. [1]

Internal flight control systems are able to be programmed to hold the TALD at certain speeds, or to perform certain maneuvers. This allows it to mimic certain aircraft, degrading the quality of the enemy's situational awareness. They could be, for example, programmed to mimic the speed and movements of the General Dynamics F-16 with the goal of making adversary SAM sites perceive a high-priority threat which is not there.

The addition of a Luneburg lens allows for incoming radar waves to be reflected back directly at the target, amplifying the radar returns. This leads to its perception as a much larger aircraft, such as bombers.

The missile could be launched from 12,200 metres (40,000 ft), at which height it had a range of up to 126 kilometres (78 mi); a low-altitude range reduced this to 26 kilometres (16 mi).


ADM-141 TALDs being loaded onto Lt. Jeff Greer's A-7 Corsair II on 16 Jan 1991
Jeff Greer with the TALD he would drop on Night One

The TALD was built in different versions.


The ADM-141A has passive and active radar enhancers. An IR addon was fielded for a while, but was later withdrawn from service.


The ADM-141B carries a 36 kg (80 lb) payload of chaff, to better mimic the behavior of aircraft.


The "ADM-141C ITALD" is similar to TALD, but is fitted with a Teledyne CAE-312 turbofan engine, which provides 0.78 kN (80 kgp / 177 lbf) thrust and was developed for a cancelled anti-radar cruise missile named "Tacit Rainbow". ITALD has a ventral intake for the turbofan, and a radar altimeter so it can maintain low-level flight at a specified altitude over the ground.

ITALD has a speed of Mach 0.8 and range of 280 kilometers (175 miles) at altitude. It can be launched from the ground using a RATO booster, as well as air launched. First flights were in 1995, with trials completed in 1996. At that time, Brunswick got out of the defense business, but the project was picked up by IMI. Future ITALDs may feature a Global Positioning System / Inertial Navigation System (GPS-INS) autopilot.

— Greg Goebel - Unmanned Aerial Vehicles[2]

The ADM-141C (ITALD) has the same passive and active radar enhancers as the ADM-141A TALD.


The TALD was used with great success in the opening stages of Operation Desert Storm in 1991, with the first being deployed in combat by Lt. Jeff Greer. More than 100 were launched on the opening night of the war. This prompted the Iraqi air defense to activate many of its radars, most of which were then destroyed by anti-radiation missiles.

The Improved TALD is powered by a Teledyne CAE Model 312 (J700-CA-400) turbojet. This boosted the range to more than 300 kilometres (190 mi) at high altitude and 185 kilometres (115 mi) at low altitude. This model was also capable of performing a flight profile resembling that of a real aircraft much more convincingly. Initially 20 TALDs were upgraded to ADM-141C ITALD configuration, with the first flight conducted in 1996. Since then the U.S. Navy has ordered over 200 ADM-141Cs.

The major user of the ADM-141 is the F/A-18 Hornet. Up to 6 decoys can be carried on a single stores pylon, using a pair of triple ejector racks.[3]


See also


Article source: Vectorsite's Unmanned Aerial Vehicles by Greg Goebel.

  1. ^ "ADM-141 Tactical Air-Launched Decoy (TALD)/Improved TALD (ITALD)". Retrieved 2024-01-30.
  2. ^ "Unmanned Aerial Vehicles v1.6.0 / TOC (19 chapters) / 01 mar 10 / greg goebel / public domain". Archived from the original on 2011-09-01.
  3. ^ Goebel, Greg. "Unmanned Aerial Vehicles".