- BQM-177A is a high-fidelity target designed to replicate subsonic anti-ship cruise missile threats
- The LRIP1 contract covers the delivery of 45 BQM-177A target vehicles
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions is to begin low-rate initial production (LRIP) of the next-generation BQM-177A Sub-Sonic Aerial Target (SSAT) for the US Navy (USN).
Exercised by the Naval Air System Command's (NAVAIR) Aerial Target and Decoy Systems Program Office (PMA-208) on 27 June, the USD34.55-million LRIP1 contract amendment covers the production of 45 BQM-177A targets plus mission installation kits. Coincident with LRIP1, Kratos has also been awarded a USD2.53-million Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) contract for fiscal year (FY) 2017.
Designed to initially augment, and eventually replace, the USN's existing BQM-34S and BQM-74E aerial targets, the BQM-177A is a new high-fidelity target that will be used to replicate subsonic anti-ship cruise missile threats in support of fleet training and weapon system testing and evaluation. Compared with the systems it will replace, the BQM-177A will deliver longer-range, lower cruise altitudes (down to 10 ft), high speed (Mach 0.95), and greater manoeuvrability (-2g to 9g).
The BQM-177A is based on Kratos' BQM-167X unmanned air target vehicle demonstrator, itself a derivative of the BQM-167A Skeeter target currently being supplied to the US Air Force under the Air Force Subscale Aerial Target programme. Although it leverages from the BQM-167A design, the BQM-177A introduces a new fuselage with area ruling, high-mounted wings, and an internally integrated Safran Microturbo TR 60-5+ turbojet engine for reduced transonic drag.
The BQM-177A can also carry a variety of internal and wingtip-mounted payloads. These include electronic countermeasures, active and passive radar augmentation, infrared, identification friend or foe, internal chaff and flare dispensing, threat emitter simulators, smoke generators, and scoring systems.
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