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MQM-107 Streaker

The MQM-107 was a remotely piloted vehicle (RPV) used for testing and to train U.S. Air Force interceptor crews. The Streaker could simulate the characteristics of different potential enemy targets. For instance, it could mimic the heat and radar returns of different missiles and aircraft. It could also drop chaff and flares to deceive interceptor crews. The Streaker was ground-launched with the aid of solid fuel boosters that quickly accelerated it to approximately 250 mph. A small turbojet engine then took over for the remainder of the flight. The Streaker's flight route could be programmed prior to launch or changed during flight by a ground controller using a radio link. At the end of the mission, a parachute lowered it for a land or water recovery.

The MQM-107A is approximately 17 ft long, has a 10 ft wing span, and a fuselage diameter of 15 in. With fuel and booster, the vehicle weighs 1067 lbs. The fuselage construction is aluminum with bonded honeycomb wing and tail surface, and plastic nose and tail cones. The airframe was designed with constant attention to minimizing initial fabrication and refurbishment costs. The simplicity and modularity of its construction demonstrates the success of this attention. The airframe may be divided into seven major parts -- the nose section, fuel tankage, aft section, wing, empennage, engine nacelle, and aerodynamic fairings. The forward section of the fuselage houses the crushable nose cone, electronics compartment, payload section, and smoke oil tank. The center section is the fuel tank and the rear area is the recovery system.

Unmanned targets for air-, ground-, and sea-based systems are used extensively by modern military nations around the world to conduct research, development, and testing of a variety of technologies. Aerial target systems, in particular, have provided the United States (U.S.) military with affordable devices to impersonate, test, and evaluate missile systems. Over the years, the capabilities have increased dramatically. Aerial targets now range from miniature to full scale and can be fixed or rotary wing with several reaching supersonic speeds.

While each of the U.S. military branches has its own organizations to manage and promote the use of targets, the organization responsible for the Armys target systems is the Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation (PEO-STRI). The organization was created in 1974 and designed to develop new training technologies during the Cold War. Since then, PEO-STRI has grown exponentially and encompasses nearly a dozen project offices, including the Program Manager (PM) Instrumentation Targets and Threat Simulators Targets Management Office (TMO), which manages aerial and ground targets [1]. The TMOs mission is to provide technically advanced targets with the best value and superior life-cycle operations and sustainment support for the Army, the other joint services, and foreign customers.

Known as the Armys workhorse, the most versatile subscale aerial target in the TMO repertoire is the MQM-107 Streaker. It is capable of performing advanced maneuvers up to transonic speeds. With its external payload and towing capabilities, it has the ability to simulate practically any air defense threat. The MQM-107 was developed in 1972 by Beechcraft for the Armys Variable Speed Training Target design competition. Beech won the competition in 1975, and the MQM-107A began full production that year.

The A model was replaced in 1982 with the longer B model. It had an increased payload volume and a more powerful engine (the Microturbo TRI 60-2) that increased the maximum speed. Limited C models came next and created a means to deplete excess parts from the stock of A and B engines and fuselages. The D and E models are still in service and have been used by the U.S. Army and Air Force since their introduction in 1987 and 1994, respectively. The production contract for the MQM-107E was initially awarded to Tracor (now BAE Systems). In 1979, the Beech Aircraft Corporation was taken over by Raytheon, which continued the work with the MQM-107. In recent years, Composite Engineering, Inc. (a longtime components producer for the MQM-107) purchased the rights to produce the targets from Raytheon.

During the development of the later MQM-107 models, Beechcraft (a Raytheon company) developed Six Degrees-of-Freedom (6-DOF) flight simulation software for the MQM-107 system. The program was designed to simulate the aircraft in translational and rotational degrees-of-freedom throughout all aspects of flight, including surface launch, climbs, dives, turn maneuvers, and recovery [3]. In the early 1990s, the simulation code was given to the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) for internal use and development and given the name Stealth. Since then, the System Simulation and Development Directorate (SSDD), in conjunction with contractor Torch Technologies, Inc., has dramatically expanded the capabilities of the simulation and continues to make it a state-of-the-art software program that is essential for each of the Armys MQM-107 missions and operator proficiency training.

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, the Aerial Targets Laboratory (SSDD and Torch) redesigned and modernized the simulation and training program known as the Stealth. The Stealth offered customers a single tool for engineers and operators to simulate the MQM-107 target, with the Beech code as its backbone. In 2011, the Stealth program was officially retired. The Operator Trainer (OpTrain) and Simulation Study (SimStudy) programs replaced the Stealth program and allowed developers to cater the software to two distinct user groups: target operators and engineers. The OpTrain is designed primarily for field operator training, while SimStudy caters to engineering and data analysis. This provides for increased flexibility and efficiency in meeting the various user groups because requirements and expectations often differ.

Engine One Microturbo North America TRI 60-2 turbojet of 831 lb. thrust
Maximum speed 575 mph
Endurance 2 hours, 18 minutes
Ceiling 40,000 feet
Launch weight 1,464 lbs.
MQM-107 MQM-107 MQM-107

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