Sierra Technical Services completed the critical design review of its 5th Generation Aerial Target on 20 June.

The company is developing the aerial target under contract with the Department of Defense to help US pilots train against a low observable fighter, such as China’s Chengdu J-20 or Russia’s Sukhoi Su-57.

The target is intended to be a high-performance, unmanned, fighter-size aircraft that will be used for air-to-air and ground-to-air weapons evaluation, pilot training and ground forces training.

Sierra Technical Services said its fifth generation target drone design incorporates two afterburning jet engines into a 95% carbon fiber airframe.

Sierra Technical Services demonstrator

Sierra Technical is based out of 20,000 ft2 manufacturing facility at the Tehachapi Municipal Airport on the edge of the Mojave desert in California. The company was founded in 2006 as a rapid prototype manufacturer for the aerospace and automotive industries.

Having completed its critical design review, Sierra Technical Services plans to begin the assembly of the demonstrator’s structure. The company said it has already completed more than 90 percent of the internal wings structure and skins, as well as 80% of the internal fuselage structure and skins. Flight control surfaces and tail assemblies are underway as well.

The first flight of the demonstrator is expected to take place during the spring of 2019.