Northrop Grumman to Build Coyote Target Missiles for US Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force

A $57 million contract with Northrop Grumman to build supersonic target missiles for the U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (Kaijō Jieitai, JMSDF) has been announced by the U.S. Defense Department. The deal calls for manufacture and delivery of 19 GQM-163A Coyote sea-skimming targets — 16 for the U.S. Navy and three for JMSDF. Fiscal 2020 weapons procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $48,081,369; and The Japanese government funds in the amount of $9,015,257 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract calls for work to be completed by 2023.

The GQM-163 Coyote is a supersonic sea skimming 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 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.

In July 2018, Orbital Sciences Corp was awarded a US$52 million modification to its existing contract, for 18 Lot 12 targets plus some Foreign Military Sales. Orbital Sciences Corporation (commonly referred to as Orbital) was an American company specializing in the design, manufacture and launch of small- and medium- class space and rocket systems for commercial, military and other government customers. In 2014 Orbital merged with Alliant Techsystems to create a new company called Orbital ATK, Inc., which in turn was purchased by Northrop Grumman in 2018. The remnants of the former Orbital Sciences Corporation today are a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman known as Northrop Grumman Space Systems.

The GQM-163A Coyote Supersonic Sea-Skimming Target flies over the bow of a U.S. Navy observation ship during a routine test.