US-based company Sierra Technical Services (STS) has completed the critical design review (CDR) for the 5th Generation Aerial Target (5GAT) aircraft.

On 24 March last year, the company secured the prime contract to complete the designing, development, fabrication and testing of the 5GAT demonstrator.

Awarded by the US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) Contracting Office in Sacramento, California, the 5GAT contract is managed by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (OSD / DOT&E).

With the successful completion of the CDR, the company can now start assembling the 5GAT first demonstrator structure.

STS president Roger Hayes said: “It is unprecedented in today’s Department of Defense (DoD) acquisitions of high-performance aircraft to be ‘on budget’, ‘on schedule’, and ‘underweight’.

“We are extremely proud of our team of engineering and manufacturing professionals as well as our 5GAT teammates to achieve this milestone.”

"It is unprecedented in today’s DoD acquisitions of high-performance aircraft to be ‘on budget’, ‘on schedule’, and ‘underweight’."

The 5GAT demonstrator is a high-performance, unmanned, fighter-size aircraft designed for air-to-air and ground-to-air weapons evaluation, pilot training, and ground forces training.

Integrating two afterburning jet engines into a 95% carbon fibre airframe, the aircraft design is capable of addressing specialised requirements regarding ‘Threat Representative’, ‘Low Observable’ full-scale aircraft adversaries US troops might encounter in an aerial combat situation.

The first 5GAT demonstrator is planned as a 26-month to first flight programme with the initial launch expected next year.

Being the prime contractor for building the 5GAT aircraft concept since 2006, STS works with two major subcontractors, -D Systems from Round Rock, Texas, and Fast and Optimal Engineering (FOE) based in Valencia, California.