Orbital ATK is being awarded a contract to support the target test and evaluation of the GQM-163A Coyote supersonic sea skimming target (SSST).
According to the statement from the U.S. Department of Defence, the contract is “for operation and maintenance services in support of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division Ground Launch Drone Missile (GQM-163A) target test and evaluation to include developmental testing.”
The cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract, worth around $80 million, was awarded by the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) located in China Lake, California. NAWCWD is an organization within the the Department of the Navy’s (DoN) Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) dedicated to maintaining a center of excellence in weapons development.
Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $300K will be obligated at time of award; none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract also supports foreign military sales (FMS) testing activities.
The contract support will be performed in Point Mugu, California (25 percent); San Nicholas Island, California (25 percent); Pacific Missile Range Facility, Hawaii (25 percent); and Wallops Island, Virginia (25 percent), and is expected to be completed in February 2023.
GQM-163 Coyote Supersonic Sea Skimming Target (SSST) is a a non-recoverable, supersonic aerial target built by Orbital Sciences and used by the United States Navy as a successor to the MQM-8 Vandal.
Orbital’s proposal was chosen over the MA-31, a joint venture between Boeing and Zvezda-Strela. Orbital was awarded their contract for the development of the Coyote SSST in June 2000.
The GQM-163A Coyote is capable of speeds of Mach 2 or greater and can be used as sea skimming target with terminal altitudes from 13.0 to 66.0 feet (absolute) or as a diving target with a maximum altitude of 52,000 feet and diving angles between 15 and 55 degrees. The SSST system air vehicle is ground launched and is capable of operation with current augmentation, scoring and range hardware.
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.