In what must count as one of the most unusual "weapon" configurations ever seen on a McDonnell Douglas F-18, the US manufacturer has mated a variant of Russia's Zvezda Kh-31 (AS-17 Krypton) rocket/ramjet with the aircraft. MDC is working under an 18-month, $4.7 million US Navy contract to determine whether the Kh-31 variant, the MA-31 aerial target, can meet the USN's requirement for a supersonic sea-skimming target. Wind tunnel testing has been completed and a series of ground tests will follow, leading to full-scale flight-tests of up to four MA-31 targets at the Naval Air Warfare Center's test range at Point Magu, California, in the fourth quarter of 1996.

Source: Flight International