Sierra Technical Services (STS) successfully completed engine-run testing on its 5th Generation Aerial Target (5GAT) for the US Department of Defense (DoD) on January 10.
The 5GAT is an attritable, low-cost, unmanned, fighter-sized high-performance stealth aircraft which will be used in pilot/ground forces training and air-to-air/air-to-surface weapons evaluation under the DoD’s Next Generation Aerial Target (NGAT) programme. According to the press release, the 5GAT platform is a response to the DoD’s need for “threat representative adversaries that the US warfighter may encounter in an aerial combat situation”.
STS states that the 5GAT demonstrator is scheduled to conduct its first flight early this year and that the DoD could employ the platform’s services in other in-development projects – aside from NGAT – including its Loyal Wingman and Skyborg programmes.
Roger Hayes, president and CEO of STS, said: “This is an exciting day and major milestone achievement with the completion of these engine run tests leading up to our flight test phase in the [first] quarter of 2020. I am extremely proud of our very small and dedicated 5GAT team.”
The company was awarded a prime contract in March 2017 to design, manufacture, assemble, integrate and conduct ground/flight tests of the 5GAT demonstrator – a concept of which has been around since 2008. The programme is managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers Contracting Office (USACE), based in Sacramento, California. USACE is managed by the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), under the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD).