Orbital to deliver Coyote sea skimming target missiles for US, Qatar under $67.5M deal

The US Naval Air Systems Command has awarded US-based aerospace and defense contractor Orbital ATK a $67,5 million contract for the delivery of GQM-163A Coyote Supersonic Sea Skimming Target missiles.

The contract includes base vehicles and spares for the US Navy and Qatar, and D6AC long lead steel for Japan.

The US Navy holds 99.83 percent of the contract at $67,461,135 while Qatar’s share is 0.14 percent with $97,597. Work on the contract is expected to be completed in June 2021.

Orbital developed the GQM-163A Supersonic Sea-Skimming Target (SSST) under a $34 million and Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract awarded in June 2000.

The design integrates a solid-fuel, air-breathing ducted rocket propulsion system into a compact missile airframe 18 feet long and 14 inches in diameter. Launched from navy test and training ranges, this high-performance vehicle achieves speeds over Mach 2.5 while flying 15 feet above the ocean’s surface and weaving with 10g acceleration. In addition to the sea-skimming trajectory, Orbital ATK has also fielded a “high diver” variant which achieves altitudes over 50,000 feet before pouncing on its target at near hypersonic speed.

GQM-163A launches have been conducted for several foreign customers in addition to the US Navy.