U.S. Navy, Japan Buy Target Drones to Evaluate “Major Combat Weapon Systems”

  • Our Bureau
  • 07:32 AM, February 27, 2021
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U.S. Navy, Japan Buy Target Drones to Evaluate “Major Combat Weapon Systems”
GQM-163A Coyote supersonic sea skimming target

The U.S. Navy today awarded Northrop Grumman $55.5 million for GQM-163A Coyote Supersonic Sea Skimming Targets.

This modification exercises an option to procure 18 Lot 15 full rate production GQM-163A Coyote Supersonic Sea Skimming Targets (14 for the Navy; three for the Missile Defense Agency; and one for the government of Japan) in support of developmental, operational test and evaluation of major combat weapon systems, a U.S. DoD release today said.

Additionally, this contract procures associated technical and administrative data in support of full rate production Lot 15 deliveries.

The GQM-163A Coyote supersonic sea skimming target is designed to provide a cost-effective target to simulate supersonic sea-skimming and other emerging supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles, support research into ship defense systems, and support fleet training exercises.

The target missile design integrates a four-inlet, solid-fuel ducted rocket ramjet propulsion system into a compact missile airframe 18 feet long and 14 inches in diameter. Ramjet supersonic takeover speed is achieved using a decommissioned Navy MK 70 solid rocket motor for the first stage. Rail-launched from Navy test and training ranges, the highly maneuverable GQM-163A Coyote achieves cruise speeds of Mach 2.5+ following the separation of the MK 70 first-stage booster. The range of the target vehicle system is approximately 50 nautical miles at altitudes of less than 20 feet above the sea surface.

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