The US Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman a contract to deliver 18 GQM-163A “Coyote” supersonic sea-skimming target (SSST) vehicles.
The $55.4 million contract is the first of three options under a potential $257 million full-rate production contract announced in December 2020. It brings the number of total SSST vehicles ordered by the service to 218, the defense manufacturer stated.
“Our design integrates a solid-fuel, air-breathing ducted rocket propulsion system with high-performance avionics capable of emulating multiple scenarios to prepare and protect our warfighters against evolving threats,” said Rich Straka, vice president of launch vehicles at Northrop Grumman.
Simulates Incoming Anti-Ship Cruise Missile
The company first flew the Coyote in 2003. Since then, 124 of the non-recoverable targets have been delivered to the navy. The service has utilized the targets 81 times.
The Coyote is a cost-effective supersonic aerial target that allows the navy to practice naval ship defenses against a simulated supersonic anti-ship cruise missile across multiple scenarios.
“It can be used as a Mach 2.5+ sea-skimming target or as a Mach 3.5+ diving target from an altitude of 52,000 feet; the target vehicle is also able to perform high G turns,” Northrop Grumman stated.