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Copyright © 2003-2005 Andreas Parsch

Composite Engineering BQM-167 Skeeter

In late 2001, the U.S. Air Force initiated the AFSAT (Air Force Subscale Aerial Target) program for a new jet-powered target drone to supplement, and ultimately replace, the BQM-34A Firebee and MQM-107D/E Streaker targets currently in use. The AFSAT requirements were issued to the industry, and in July 2002, Composite Engineering Inc's (CEI) Skeeter target, first flown in 2001, was selected for further development as the BQM-167A.

Photo: Greg Goebel

The BQM-167A is of very similar layout as the MQM-107 Streaker, and is powered a ventrally mounted turbojet engine. It can be air or ground launched, and can carry the full range of current target payloads, including radar enhancers, IR sources, countermeasures, scoring devices, and towed targets. The Skeeter can reach a speed of about Mach 0.91, and fly at altitudes between 6 m (20 ft) and 15000 m (50000 ft). The BQM-167A is constructed mainly of carbon fiber composites, which makes the airframe significantly lighter than the similar-sized BQM-34 and MQM-107, thereby significantly increasing the range for a given payload weight.

Photo: Bruce Hoffman, U.S. Air Force

The initial contract covered the construction and flight testing of prototype BQM-167A vehicles, and full-scale production began in 2004. The current contract covers a production of 50 Skeeters per year for at least seven years. The BQM-167A will be used primarily for test and evaluation of air-defense systems, with air-to-air missile training as a secondary application. The USAF plans to retire its remaining MQM-107 targets as soon as enough BQM-167s are available, probably in 2005.

Boeing, which is a major subcontractor to CEI on the Skeeter program, has announced a design study for the "BGM-167", a multipurpose UAV based on the BQM-167A.


Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate!

Data for BQM-167A:

Length6.1 m (20 ft)
Wingspan3.3 m (11 ft)
Diameter61 cm (24 in)
SpeedMach 0.91
Ceiling15000 m (50000 ft)
Endurance3 hours
PropulsionMicroturbo Tri 60-5+ turbojet

Main Sources

[1] Composite Engineering Inc. Website
[2] Greg Goebel: Modern US Target Drones

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Last Updated: 13 May 2005