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New US Navy SSAT buy includes sales to Japan, Saudi Arabia

The US Navy's BQM-177A Subsonic Aerial Target provides realistic threat representation for developmental and operational testing of major DoD and international weapon systems. NAVAIR on 23 December issued a contract to Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems to provide 65 units of the target. (US Navy)

Japan and Saudi Arabia are set to receive quantities of the US Navy's (USN's) new BQM-177A Subsonic Aerial Target (SSAT) as part of a third full-rate production (FRP) order placed with Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems.

Awarded by the US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) on 23 December, the USD50.9 million FRP Lot 3 contract modification covers the delivery of 65 BQM-177A aerial targets. Alongside 50 for the USN, the contract with Kratos additionally covers the delivery of seven SSAT vehicles for Japan and eight for Saudi Arabia under Foreign Military Sales (FMS) arrangements.

Being procured by the USN to initially augment, and eventually replace, the service's dwindling inventory of BQM-74E targets, the BQM-177A is a high-fidelity recoverable target developed by Kratos to replicate subsonic anti-cruise missile threats in support of fleet training and weapon system testing and evaluation. Compared with the systems it replaces, the BQM-177A delivers longer-range, lower cruise altitudes (down to 10 ft), high speed (Mach 0.95), and greater manoeuvrability (-2 g to 9 g).

Powered by a Safran Microturbo TRI 60-5 turbojet engine, the BQM-177A can 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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