The first prototype Fifth-Generation Aerial Target (5GAT) built for the US Department of Defense (DoD) was destroyed during a flight test in October 2020, the Pentagon’s Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) has revealed in its annual report to Congress.
A full-scale, low-observable unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) sponsored by DOT&E, the 5GAT target is designed to enable platform and weapons test and evaluation (air-to-air and surface-to-air), pilot and ground-force training, and the development of tactics, techniques, and procedures against a stealthy fifth-generation threat.
Developed by STS, the 5GAT target is intended to emulate the characteristics of fifth-generation adversary aircraft. (US DoD)
Sierra Technical Services (STS) was awarded a prime contract by the US Army Corp of Engineers Contracting Office in March 2017 to design, manufacture, assemble, integrate, and ground/flight test the 5GAT demonstrator. Similar in dimensions and mass to the T-38 trainer aircraft, the 5GAT vehicle is powered by a pair of General Electric J85 engines harvested from retired T-38 trainers.
STS has built the 5GAT airframe from composites using soft tooling to reduce cost, while Fast Optimal Engineering has taken responsibility for major subsystems, including flight control actuation, electrical power, hydraulics, landing gear, and steering. Another subcontractor, 5D Systems, has developed the software suite.