Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Copyright © 2002 Andreas Parsch

Continental RPVs MQM-143 RPVT

In 1983, Continental RPVs became the prime contractor to supply the U.S. Army's National Training Center at Ft. Irwin, CA, with aerial targets based on scale models of the Soviet MiG-27 Flogger-D aircraft. Continental developed targets in 1/9th, 1/7th and 1/5th scale, and in 1988 the U.S. Army Missile Command assigned the designation MQM-143A to the 1/5th scale representation of the MiG-27. Initially, the request was for FQM-143A, but this was changed because the F-for-Individual launch environment letter is not applicable to Continental RPVs' targets. Scale representations of many other Russian and U.S. aircraft are also available, and the U.S. Army is currently using 1/5th scale models of the Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot and the Mil Mi-24 Hind helicopter in its RPVT (Remotely Piloted Vehicle Target) System. The MQM-143A (1/5th scale MiG-27) is apparently no longer used.

Photo: via Jane's
1/5th scale MiG-27 (MQM-143A)

Continental RPVs' scale targets are launched pneumatically from a mobile zero-length launcher, and are recovered by a skid or belly landing (optional modification for parachute recovery is possible). Control is via a hand-held remote control, and the latest models include a GPS waypoint navigation system for autonomous flight. Control range is about 3 km (1.9 miles). Mission equipment (up to 9 kg (20 lb) for the 1/5th scale models) can include all sorts of radar, IR and visual augmentation devices, scoring systems, and MILES (Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System) equipment. With MILES there is no need to fire live bullets at the target, because the air-defense systems used for training are equipped with low-energy lasers, which are "fired" at the target. When the latter's hit indicator detects a laser pulse, it will give visual hit feedback (e.g. a smoke trail). The RPVTs can also be fitted with AGES (Air-to-Ground Engagement System), which provides a "shoot back" capability using an eye-safe low-power MILES laser.

Photos: via Jane's
1/5th scale Su-251/5th scale Mi-24

The Continental RPVs scale targets are primarily employed by the U.S. Army for training with the FIM-92 Stinger man-portable air-defense missile (and other air-defense systems using Stinger, like BSFV, Avenger and Linebacker), but are also used in smaller numbers by all other U.S. military services. Many thousand scale targets have been built by Continental RPVs so far, and production is continuing.


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

Data for 1/5th scale MiG-27 (MQM-143A), Su-25, Mi-24:

 MiG-27 (MQM-143A)Su-25Mi-24
Length?3.38 m (11 ft 1 in)
Wingspan3.00 m (9 ft 10 in)3.20 m (10 ft 6 in) 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Rotor diameter: 3.05 m (10 ft)
Weight27 kg (60 lb)
Speed210 km/h (130 mph)160 km/h (100 mph)130 km/h (80 mph)
Endurance30 min
Propulsion100 cc piston engine

Main Sources

[1] Kenneth Munson (ed.): "Jane's Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Targets, Issue 15", Jane's, 2000
[2] Kenneth Munson: "World Unmanned Aircraft", Jane's, 1988
[3] Department of Defense Missile Nomenclature Records

Back to Current Designations Of U.S. Unmanned Military Aerospace Vehicles
Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles

Last Updated: 24 December 2002