The US Navy launched the last two remaining AQM-37 targets on September 22 in support of the US Army’s Integrated Fires Mission Command operations at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
Since 1962, more than 5,000 AQM-37 targets have been delivered and launched in various training and system development operations across the globe. The system replicated both air-to-air and air-to-surface threats and was able to fly simulated ballistic missile profiles at altitudes of up to 300,000 feet.
Over six decades, the target played an instrumental role in the testing and deployment of new systems including short range air-to air missiles including the Air Intercept Missile (AIM-9) Sidewinder, ship-borne short range anti-aircraft missiles including the Sea Sparrow Missile (RIM-7) and ships equipped with missile defense (AEGIS) systems. The targets supported both domestic and international partners including NATO nations and was commonly used in conjunction with the US Air Force, most often launched from the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
Just recently, the Air Force’s 412th Test Wing launched seven AQM-37 targets from F-16s to support testing of E-2D Advanced Hawkeye and F-35 Lightning II capabilities at Navy Exercise Gray Flag at the Point Mugu Sea Range. The AQM-37’s involvement in this exercise and countless others, enhanced capability and supported mission readiness for joint forces.