Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. announced that its Unmanned Systems Division (USD) was awarded an amendment to a previously awarded contract to exercise an option for Low Rate Initial Production Year 1 (LRIP 1) from the U.S. Navy, for BQM-177A Subsonic Aerial Target (SSAT) Drone Systems. The SSAT LRIP 1 order has an initial value of $34,553,229. Coincident with the LRIP 1 order, Kratos was awarded a contract to provide Contractor Logistics Support (CLS); initial value of the CLS award is $2,538,481 for fiscal 2017.

In addition, separate contracts for Peculiar Support Equipment, Initial Systems Spares, External Payload Systems and Flight Consumables will follow shortly. Kratos' USD is at the forefront in the design, development, demonstration and delivery of Affordable, High Performance, Jet Powered Unmanned Aerial Tactical and Target Drone Systems. The BQM-177A is one of the highest performance unmanned aerial drone systems in the world today, with unmatched flight performance characteristics in multiple key mission areas. SSAT LRIP 1, which coincides with the Fiscal 2017 U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Budget, is the initial annual production order for this unmanned aerial target drone system, which recently completed development. The Fiscal 2018 SSAT production order LRIP 2 is currently expected to be approximately 25 percent higher than Fiscal 2017 SSAT LRIP 1.

The SSAT Program is designed to meet the U.S. Navy's requirements for a new High Fidelity Target to replicate subsonic anti-ship cruise missile threats in direct support of fleet training and weapon system testing and evaluation. The BQM-177A will initially augment, and will eventually replace, the existing BQM-74E Chukar Targets and will deliver longer range, lower cruise altitudes and greater maneuverability.

The BQM-177A is based on Kratos' BQM-167X Aircraft, a derivative of the BQM-167A Skeeter Target currently being supplied to the U.S. Air Force. While leveraging legacy designs of the BQM-167A, the BQM-177A introduces a new fuselage with area ruling, high mounted wings and an internally integrated MicroTurbo TR-60-5+ turbo jet engine for reduced transonic drag. The BQM-177A can support various mission requirements by carrying a variety of internal and wing tip mounted payloads, including electronic counter measures, active and passive radar augmentation, infrared, identification friend or foe, internal chaff and flare dispensing, threat emitter simulators, smoke and scoring.

Steve Fendley, president of Kratos' Unmanned Systems Division, said, "We are extremely proud of the performance capabilities of this target aircraft, arguably the most capable and maneuverable low altitude high subsonic unmanned aircraft in existence. Transitioning to production is a significant milestone for our team and with this achievement it delivers a much needed capability to the Navy in supporting our country's National Security requirements."