BAE Kalkara Unmanned Aerial Target

BAE Kalkara Unmanned Aerial Target
Pilotless high performance remotely controlled target drone
BAE Systems USA
Number in use
First Delivered
18 feet
4 feet 10 inches
Weights 1464 pounds
Dimensions 10 feet (wing span)
Speed 593 mph maximum
140 minutes (duration)
Engines Microturbo turbojet with rocket launch booster
Performance Ceiling 40,000 feet
Operated by
Boeing Australia, Jervis Bay Range facility

The Kalkara (aboriginal for storm bird) was the unmanned aerial target system designed to replace the Jindivik. Originally planned to enter service in the late 1980s, various issues delayed its development and the first flight did not take place until 19 June 1998 at the Jervis Bay Range Facility. Test flights also took place from HMAS Stirling (Western Australia) and at the Woomera Weapons Range in South Australia. Twenty-one target aircraft were eventually produced (Serial numbers N28-001 to N28-021).

Operational flights commenced in February 1999. A Kalkara successfully flew mission 100 on 27 March 2006 (from Gilbert Point at HMAS Stirling) and despite having been in use for a number of years, providing aerial targets to ships and aircraft missile systems, the Kalkara unmanned aerial target system did not achieve operational release until 10 August 2006.

Launched using a rocket-assisted take-off cradle the Kalkara was capable of operation between 100 feet and 40,000 feet with a top speed of Mach 0.86. Depending on it planned flight profile, its endurance was about 30 to 60 minutes. With a 6-G manoeuvre limit and low-level speed of around 360 knots, Kalkara could simulate missile and aircraft profiles that challenged the ships’ and fighter aircraft weapon systems and their operators. Although Kalkara was normally fitted with a variety of towed targets it could be fired at directly while being manoeuvred.

The Kalkara was phased out of service in 2008 and no UAV target replaced it.

A Kalkara on display at the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Nowra. (Fleet Air Arm Museum)
A Kalkara on display at tthe Fleet Air Arm Musuem at Nowra. (Fleet Air Arm Museum)