The US Navy has taken delivery of the first production of BQM-177A subsonic aerial target (SSAT) drone systems from national security solutions provider Kratos Defense & Security Solutions.
Kratos has carried out the BQM-177A production deliveries under previously announced low-rate initial production (LRIP) Year One contracts, which have a combined value of approximately $37m.
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Unmanned Systems Division president Steve Fendley said: “We are honoured to announce the delivery of the first production BQM-177A, arguably the highest performance unmanned aerial drone system in the world today, to our outstanding partner and customer, the US Navy.
“The SSAT programme is one of the most important in all of Kratos, and it is expected to be one of the largest programmes in our company and a key element of our forecasted growth as we achieve full-rate production quantities.”
The BQM-177A is the US Navy’s next-generation SSAT drone system, which can reach speeds of more than 0.95mach and a sea-skimming altitude as low as 10ft.
It primarily provides threat emulation for air-to-air engagements.
The system is able to carry a number of internal and external payloads, including proximity scoring, identification friend or foe (IFF), and passive and active radio frequency (RF) augmentation.
It is also capable of handling electronic counter-measures systems and infrared (IR) augmentation (plume pods), as well as chaff and flare dispensers, and towed targets.
The company’s Unmanned Systems Division was initially awarded an amendment to the original supply contract in June last year, which enabled the excising of an option for LRIP Year One for the US Navy’s BQM-177A drone system.