20 years after CAE's entry into the aircratf gas turbine business with the highly successful J69 engine family, the company began the development of what became its second most important family : the J402 series. In 1972, following a competitive evaluation, CAE received a contract from the navy to develop the J402-CA-400 engine to power the McDonnel Douglas Harpoon (AGM-84A), an anti-ship cruise missile.
During the early 1970s, the J402-CA-700 (CAE Model 372-2A) engine was selected to power the Beech MQM-107 Streaker Variable-speed Targer Vehicul (VSTT). These target drones were not one-time-use vehicles like the Harpoon missiles were, so the lifetime of the engine had to be extended from 1 hour to 15 hours. To accomplish this, the turbine temperature was reduced, as well as the rotational speeds. A new starter system was included to give the engine the ability to restart. The result was an engine that was slightly less powerful (640 lbf vs 660 lbf).