News Release, NAVAIR

Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md.– The U.S. Navy’s next-generation Sub-Sonic Aerial Target (SSAT), BQM-177A, reached Initial Operational Capability (IOC) Feb. 27 and will begin land-based operations in Point Mugu, California.

The BQM-177Aprovides realistic threat representation for developmental and operational testing of majorDoD and international weapon systems.

“BQM-177A represents the current threats to our forces anddelivers 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 collaborativework between our subsonic integrated product team and the operators at Pacific Targets and Marine Operationsfor reaching this milestone.”

A BQM-177A Sub-Sonic Aerial Target (SSAT) prepares for flight test in May 2017 from Point Mugu, Calif. (U.S. Navy photo)

BQM-177A isa 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.

Whenthe targetreaches full operational capability, it will conduct both land and ship-based operations.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...