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US Fifth Generation Target Drone to Begin Test Flights

Gomig-21

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US Fifth Generation Target Drone to Begin Test Flights
October 15, 2020, 8:57 am


The Fifth-Generation Aerial Target sits on the flightline at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, September 2020. Photo: Department of Defense

The Defense Department announced on Wednesday it will begin test flights of its much-anticipated Fifth Generation Aerial Target drone (5GAT) later this month at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah.

Delayed by cost overruns and transportation restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 5GAT pilotless test vehicle underwent successful ground-based testing in September at Michael Army Airfield, garnering top marks.

The new drone system has generated a great deal of excitement among defense officials because of its ability to simulate fifth-generation enemy fighter threats US forces may encounter.

The 5GAT, described as “a full-scale, low-observable air vehicle,” will facilitate the testing and evaluation of surface-to-air and air-to-air platforms and weapons in the development of tactics for pilots and ground forces to combat a fifth-generation air threat — at a small fraction of the cost of comparable jet fighters.

Latest in Increasing Drone Development

As part of a recent spike in the development of US drone force technology, the 5GAT system is designed to address a current deficit in platforms which accurately represent the capabilities of the latest generation of fighters for the training of defense force personnel.

The primary contractor on the project, Sierra Technical Services, developed creative solutions including “soft tooling” in airframe construction to minimize costs. Subcontractor Fast Optimal Engineering was in charge of developing major subsystems such as landing gear, hydraulics, and steering while another, 5D Systems, developed the drone system’s software suite.

Another key approach in driving down costs and speeding development of the three-and-a-half-year, cutting-edge drone project has been streamlined acquisitions, procurement, and management processes. The utilization of an existing army air control system and hardware from decommissioned military aircraft has also assisted completion.

Initial testing late this month will evaluate flight characteristics and the performance of multiple subsystems, auto-takeoff, and landing, while further testing is set to measure increased G-force loading, speed, and altitude flight envelope limits.

 

Gomig-21

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I was just reading a release (rumor) today that coincidentally, of all countries, Vietnam is pulling out some of its stored but in flying condition MiG-21s and turning them into UAVs. This ought to be very interesting. I'll try to find the article and post it.
 
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Gomig-21

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Like the design and shape
Definitely cheaper than using F-22s or F-35s to test against themselves and SAMs and ships whatever else is out there that want to bring down these stealthy targets etc. I'd say their biggest threat to date are Russian made radars. Their massive Nebo radars and eventual photonic systems will be a challenge to not get detected by them, even when all three (the US, Russia & China) end up putting them in fighters.
 

TheSnakeEatingMarkhur

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I was just reading a release (rumor) today that coincidentally, of all countries, Vietnam is pulling out some of its stored but in flying condition MiG-21s and turning them into UAVs. This ought to be very interesting. I'll try to find the article and post it.
We can turn out J7s into unmanned jets
 

HaMoTZeMaS

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I was just reading a release (rumor) today that coincidentally, of all countries, Vietnam is pulling out some of its stored but in flying condition MiG-21s and turning them into UAVs. This ought to be very interesting. I'll try to find the article and post it.
So we can also convert our obsolete old gens into new monsters?
 

Itachi

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How does this compare to the Turkish or Chinese drones and what generation are they?

This is a target drone....first of its generation that's been publicized......I don't think neither of the two mentioned nations are thinking that far ahead in terms of target drones....
 

Gomig-21

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The "Loyal Wingman" is also a pretty interesting new concept the US is working on which is essentially a politically correct name for a "Slave Drone" which the latter would never fly in this country in this day and age.

 
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IceCold

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The "Loyal Wingman" is also a pretty interesting new concept the US is working on which is essentially a politically correct name for a "Slave Drone" which the latter would never fly in this country in this day and age.

Interesting that the guy in the video does not mention Chinese J-20 which is another 5th generation threat, the US would be facing and one which is growing in much more numbers compared to Russian Sukhoi.
 

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