Kratos high-performance target drones to put air-to-air missiles through their paces
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., 1 Feb. 2016. Unmanned target drone designers at Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc. in Sacramento, Calif., will provide the U.S. Air Force with 21 new BQM-167A Air Force Subscale Aerial Target (AFSAT) drones under terms of an $18.7 million contract modification.
Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., are asking Composite Engineering for AFSAT Lots 11-13 production. The BQM-167A AFSAT is a high-performance, remotely controlled subscale aerial target drone that helps prove the value of advanced air-to-air weapons.
Air Force weapons experts use the AFSAT target drone to support the Air-to-Air Weapon System Evaluation Program and other Air Force and U.S. Department of Defense air-to-air test and evaluation programs. Composite Engineering builds the BQM-167A of carbon fiber and epoxy-based materials that help increase performance and endurance compared to previous targets, which were built mainly of aluminum, Air Force officials say.
The BQM-167A can reach speeds from 230 to 600 knots true airspeed at sea level with a maximum speed of 0.92 Mach. The drone can fly at altitudes from 50 feet above ground level to 50,000 feet mean sea level. Maneuvers include G-turns to 9G's, and other aerial acrobatic turns that emulate high-performance jet fighter aircraft.
The drone is land-launched using a rocket assisted takeoff and launched from a rail system, and can be recovered by a parachute recovery system either from land or water. Technicians repair, test, and reuse them after each use.
The BQM-167A can carry current Air Force subscale target payloads which include a scoring system, infrared and radar enhancements, electronic attack pods, and a chaff-and-flare dispenser. The advanced target drone has been in use since 2008.
The BQM-167A is 20 feet long, has a wingspan of 11 feet, is four feet high, and weighs 690 pounds without fuel. The original designer of the BQM-167A was Composite Engineering Inc., which Kratos acquired in 2012.