U.S. Navy Unmanned Aerial Target Achieves Initial Operational Capability

By Mike Ball / 04 Mar 2019

The U.S. Navy has announced that its next-generation Sub-Sonic Aerial Target (SSAT) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), BQM-177A, has reached Initial Operational Capability (IOC) and will begin land-based operations in Point Mugu, California.

The BQM-177A provides realistic threat representation for developmental and operational testing of major DoD and international weapon systems.

“BQM-177A represents the current threats to our forces and delivers improvements in speed and maneuverability to the subsonic target inventory,” said Capt. Molly Boron, Navy Aerial Targets (PMA-208) program manager. “I am proud of the collaborative work between our subsonic integrated product team and the operators at Pacific Targets and Marine Operations for reaching this milestone.”

BQM-177A is a recoverable target that will replace the legacy recoverable BQM-74E target with a modernized subsonic target with increased capabilities. The target is capable of speeds in excess of 0.9 Mach and a sea-skimming altitude as low as 10 feet.

When the target reaches full operational capability, it will conduct both land and ship-based operations.

Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact