Kratos to build 45 high-performance target drones to mimic performance of cruise missiles

High-performance target drones experts at Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc. are moving to low-rate initial production of a new subsonic aerial target designed to help Navy aircraft and surface warship crews learn to defeat enemy cruise missiles.

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BY John Keller

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. - High-performance target drones experts at Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc. are moving to low-rate initial production of a new subsonic aerial target designed to help Navy aircraft and surface warship crews learn to defeat enemy cruise missiles.

Officials of the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., announced a $37.1 million order to the Kratos Un- manned Systems Division in Sacra-mento, Calif., for low-rate initial production (LRIP) of 45 BQM-177A subsonic aerial targets. The BQM-177A is the Navy's next-generation subsonic aerial target, which is designed to mimic the behaviors and radar cross sections of dynamic, high-subsonic, sea-skimming, anti-ship cruise missiles to help naval personnel practice air-to-air engagements.

The BQM-177A high-performance target drone helps aircraft and weapons crews train to fight against cruise missiles.

Last November, Kratos Unman-ned Systems achieved the final development program milestone for the BQM-177A target drone leading up to LRIP. The BQM-177A program is designed to meet the U.S. Navy's requirements for a new high-fidelity target to replicate subsonic anti-cruise missile threats in direct support of fleet training and weapon system testing and evaluation.

Capable of speeds more than 0.95 Mach and a sea-skimming altitude as low as 10 feet above the surface of the water, the BQM-177A carries internal and external payloads including proximity scoring, identification friend or foe (IFF), passive and active RF augmentation, electronic countermeasures, infrared plume pods, chaff and flare dispensers, and towed targets.

The BQM-177A is based on the Kratos BQM-167X aircraft, a derivative of the U.S. Air Force BQM-167A Skeeter target. The BQM-177A introduces a new fuselage with area ruling, high-mounted wings, and an internally integrated MicroTurbo TR-60-5+ turbo jet engine for reduced transonic drag. It will augment and later replace existing BQM-74E aerial targets, and will deliver longer range, lower cruise altitudes, and greater maneuverability than previous-generation target drones.

FOR MORE INFORMATION visit Kratos online at www.kratosusd.com.

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