The US Navy’s next-generation subsonic aerial target reached full operational capability during a joint maritime exercise in the Philippine Sea.
Called the BQM-177A, the target drone is a recoverable aerial target system that imitates advanced subsonic anti-ship cruise missile threats.
It is designed to test the effectiveness of shipboard air defense systems.
“It is unmatched in its performance capabilities when it comes to delivering realistic anti-ship missile threat emulation,” program managers at Naval Air Systems Command said.
During the exercise, the target drone was launched from a Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship and engaged missiles from the Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer.
The trial also marked the first time the BQM-177A was used in the Western Pacific region.
“Not only am I glad the [Task Force] 71 team was the first to have a successful missile launch against a brand-new type of target drone, but I am extremely grateful that we got to do it side by side with our allies and partners in the region,” Task Force 71 commander Capt. Walter Mainor stated.