This article first appeared in the January 1990 Flight Test News.

The U.S. Navy plans to upgrade Northrop Corporation’s BQM-74C subsonic, jet-powered aerial training target with a higher-thrust turbojet engine.

The 240 lb. thrust engine will increase the newly designated BQM-74E’s maximum speed to 530 knots from 475 knots and maximum operating altitude to 40,000 feet from 35,000 feet, while allowing higher “G” maneuvers.

Under a recent contract modification, Northrop will convert 21 targets to the BQM-74E configuration, with deliveries to begin in June 1990. The vehicles will undergo Navy technical evaluation at the Pacific Missile Test Center at Point Mugu, California.

Known as the Navy’s target training workhorse, the BQM-74C can simulate a variety of high-speed threat aircraft and sea-skimming antiship missiles during training exercises involving a number of Navy surface ships and aircraft. Northrop has produced more than 1,000 BQM-74C’s since 1978, flying more than 75 percent of the service’s powered target training missions.

The international version of the BQM-74C, known as the Chukar III, is already equipped with the 240-lb. engine. The Chukar III has been used by a number of NATO nations since its first European deployment in 1984.

This article first appeared in the January 1990 Flight Test News.

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