The Department of Defense (DoD) has planned to perform the maiden test flight of a new aerial target drone in late Oct. 2020 after the department completed ground-based tests. The initial flight of the Fifth Generation Aerial Target will take place at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, following ground test completion in the middle of Sept. 2020 at Michael Army Airfield.
5GAT units will represent or act as fifth-generation aircraft threats during exercises. Prime contractor Sierra Technical Services designed 5GAT as a low-observable air vehicle constructed via lower-cost soft tooling.
"With 5GAT, we've reinvented the typical acquisition process and have aggressively used innovative program management and contracting processes to accelerate new capability development and ensure cost savings," said Michael Crisp, a retired U.S. Navy aircraft pilot and deputy director for air warfare under DoD's director of operational test and evaluation.
DoD seeks to demonstrate the new aerial target's subsystems, automatic functions and flight characteristics in the initial test flight.
"We pulled in expertise from ‘greybeards,' both industry and military, and the vision of our next generation of pilots, U.S. Air Force Academy cadets. We gave STS the freedom to explore cutting-edge design and manufacturing techniques, and got an even bigger bang for the taxpayer buck by recycling government-owned assets," Crisp added.