5GAT set to take to the skies

21st October 2020 - 08:02 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


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​Budgetary and COVID-19 issues have delayed the first flight, now scheduled for late October

The maiden flight of the Fifth Generation Aerial Target (5GAT) will take place before the end of October 2020 at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, following completion on 18 September of a series of 24 taxi tests at Michael Army Airfield.

Initial flight test objectives include demonstrating 5GAT flight characteristics, subsystem performance and the auto-takeoff and auto-landing functionality, according to the DoD.

‘Subsequent flight tests will progressively expand the aircraft's flight envelope in altitude, speed and greater G-force loading,’ it added.

It has taken less than 42 months to move from basic concept to preparing for the first flight, said Michael Crisp, deputy director for air warfare for DoD Director Operational Test and Evaluation.

This was despite ‘periods when the programme slowed dramatically due to funding issues and the recent COVID-related delays’, he added.

Built by Sierra Technical Services with major subsystems from Fast Optimal Engineering, 5GAT is a low-cost, full-scale and low-observable target drone designed to represent adversary fifth-generation fighter aircraft.

It will be used in air-to-air, surface-to-air platform and weapons test and evaluation, pilot and ground-force training, and the development of tactics, techniques and procedures.  

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