The US Navy has awarded Kratos Defense & Solutions a $49.6-million contract for the service’s BQM-177A Subsonic Aerial Target Lot 4 program.
The BQM-177A is a recoverable, high-subsonic target drone that imitates anti-cruise missile threats. It is used for fleet training and shipboard air defense tests.
Under the agreement, Kratos will deliver another 55 BQM-177A drones, mission kits, related flight consumables, and technical data to the navy.
Work on the contract will be conducted in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and Sacramento, California.
The US Navy will allocate $227.6 million if the options for Lots 5 to 7 are exercised.
‘Workhorse’ of Aerial Target Systems
The agreement follows the system’s full operational capability milestone in September 2022 in the Philippine Sea.
“The BQM-177 is quickly becoming a workhorse of the Navy targets inventory. Target presentations have never been more important than they are right now based on real world events and new capabilities under development,” US Navy Aerial Targets Program Manager Don Blottenberger explained.
“It provides reliable presentations of evolving missile and aircraft threats to test our developmental weapon systems and provide training to our deploying sailors preparing to go into harm’s way.”
Progress in US Navy BQM-177A Support
In 2021, the US Navy awarded Kratos a sole source contract for a tranche of 65 BQM-177As.
Kratos received a $14.7-million contract the following year to continue supporting the service’s BQM-177A drones.
“Following the first full-rate production award in October 2020, the combined Navy-Kratos team has completed activation of all four operational sites around the globe; delivered an additional 77 BQM-177A SSAT Air Vehicles; and declared full operational capability,” Kratos Unmanned Systems President Steve Fendley said.
“Today’s announcement marks the next step in our continuing efforts to provide world class training capabilities to the US Navy and its allied and coalition partners for the next several decades and beyond.”