Northrop Grumman secures US Navy deal for more Coyote target vehicles

Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a production contract option by the US Navy for 18 additional GQM-163A “Coyote” supersonic sea-skimming target (SSST) vehicles.

This award represents the first of three options that can be exercised against the full-rate production contract awarded last year.

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The $55.4 million award brings the GQM-163A targets ordered to date to 218.

“We are committed to supporting U.S. Navy fleet readiness with our … supersonic Coyote target vehicles,” said Rich Straka, vice president, launch vehicles, Northrop Grumman.

 “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.”

Northrop Grumman designed and developed the Coyote starting in the early 2000s, with the first flight in 2003. The company has since delivered 124 targets to the U.S. Navy and successfully launched them 81 times.

To create efficiencies and save time for the production of this target system, the company uses 3D printing technology to build mockups and tooling, and to prototype design modifications.

The Coyote program is managed by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland. The Coyote provides the Navy with a cost-effective target to simulate advanced supersonic anti-ship cruise missile threats. 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.