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-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.