A BQM-167 Air Force Subscale Aerial Target is launched from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. The drone provides a threat-representative target for the Air Force Weapon System Evaluation Program. (U.S. Air Force photo/Bruce Hoffman)
The BQM-167A is a high-performance, remotely-controlled subscale aerial target used to provide a threat-representative target drone to support the Air-to-Air Weapon System Evaluation Program and other Air Force and Department of Defense air-to-air test and evaluation programs.
The BQM-167A, manufactured by Composite Engineering Inc., is constructed of carbon fiber and epoxy-based materials. Composite materials allow significant increases in performance and endurance compared to previous targets, which were built mainly of aluminum. The BQM-167A is capable of speeds from 230 to 600 knots true airspeed at sea level with a maximum speed of 0.92 Mach. The drone can achieve flight altitudes from 50 feet above ground level to 50,000 feet mean sea level. Maneuvers include G-turns up to 9G's, and other aerial acrobatic turns.
The drone is land-launched using a rocket assisted takeoff and launched from a rail system. The drone can be recovered by a parachute recovery system either from land or water. Recovered targets are repaired, tested and reused. The BQM-167A can carry a full range of current Air Force subscale target payloads which include a scoring system, infrared and radar enhancements, electronic attack pods and a chaff/flare dispenser set.
The 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron operates and maintains the target at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Two prototype targets were built and test flown in 2001. The BQM-167A was selected as the next-generation Air Force subscale aerial target in July 2002. A total of six targets were built for use during the flight performance demonstration, or FPD, phase with its first flight Dec. 8, 2004. A total of 13 FPD launches were done through March 2006.
First acceptance testing was completed in August 2006, and then pre-operational testing consisted of 13 test flights using production targets from August 2006 through June 2007.
The first BQM-167 air-to-air missile live-fire mission took place Feb. 7, 2007.
Primary function: Aerial target Prime Contractor: Composite Engineering Inc. Power plant: 1 MicroTurbo Tri 60-5+ Wingspan: 11 feet (3.4 meters) Length: 20 feet (6.1 meters) Height: 4 feet (1.2 meters) Weight: 690 lbs empty, 2,200 lbs max (313,998 kilograms) Thrust: 1,000 lbs (453.6 kilograms) Speed: 0.92 Mach Ceiling: 50,000 feet (15,240 meters) Range: Not available Cost: $570,000 Initial operating capability: 2008 Inventory: Active force, 37
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