Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Integrated Systems sector has been awarded a $24.9 million contract by the US Navy to develop and test the BQM-74F, an upgrade of the BQM-74 aerial target that will reportedly provide more realistic fleet training against anti-ship cruise missiles or enemy fighter aircraft.
According to a statement, the contract includes requirements to complete the full system design and development of the BQM-74F system, including kits, support equipment, logistic support and manuals.
Work on this contract will begin in March 2002, with vehicle first flight scheduled in mid-2004. Final assembly and testing will be performed in Palmdale, California, with engineering design, analysis and integration in San Diego.
The Navy will use the BQM-74F to provide more realistic threat simulation to test and evaluate new weapon systems and for fleet training. The BQM-74F is said to be a high subsonic aerial target that will more effectively emulate anti-ship cruise missiles or enemy fighter aircraft.
Compared with the current BQM-74E model, the upgraded target is said to feature higher speed, greater manoeuvrability and increased range and endurance.