Northrop Grumman has been awarded a production contract by the U.S. Navy for 19 GQM-163A Coyote supersonic sea-skimming target (SSST) vehicles.
The $57 million award could be worth up to $250 million with options for an additional 84 target vehicles. This brings the GQM-163A targets ordered to date to 200.
“The Coyote is the only supersonic sea skimming target in production in the U.S.,” said Rich Straka, vice president, launch vehicles, Northrop Grumman. “This is our fourteenth full-rate production contract of reliable and proven threat representative targets.”
GQM-163 Coyote Supersonic Sea Skimming Target (SSST) is a a non-recoverable, high performance supersonic aerial target missile built by Orbital Sciences (later Orbital ATK and now Northrop Grumman) and used by the U.S. Navy as a successor to the MQM-8 Vandal to test naval ship defenses.
The Coyote is initially boosted by a Hercules MK-70 booster, of similar design to those used by the now obsolete RIM-67 Standard ER missiles. After the booster stage is expended the missile switches to an Aerojet MARC-R-282 solid-fuel rocket /ramjet engine for sustaining its flight.
The Coyote provides the Navy with a cost-effective target to simulate advanced supersonic anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM) 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 SSST system air vehicle is ground launched and is capable of operation with current augmentation, scoring and range hardware.
The Coyote is designed and built at Northrop Grumman’s state-of-the-art Launch Vehicle production facility in Chandler, Arizona. Coyote first flew in 2003 and the company has since delivered 124 targets to the U.S. Navy and successfully launched them 79 times.
The Coyote program is managed by the Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in Maryland.