Northrop Grumman Corporation is celebrating the 100th launch of its GQM-163A “Coyote” target vehicle, which continues to support the critical mission of testing ship anti-cruise missile defenses for U.S. and allied navies. The Coyote is a threat-representative target the U.S. Navy uses to prepare, train, and qualify systems and crews aboard naval vessels. Northrop Grumman originally designed the target as a Mach 2.5+ sea skimming target and later added the capability to attain Mach 3.5+ as a diving target from an altitude of over 50,000 feet. Naval Air Systems Command awarded Northrop Grumman this program in 2000 with its initial launch in 2003.
“The unique speed, performance and versatility of this target has enabled us to meet multiple mission scenarios for our customer for over two decades,” said Rich Straka, vice president, launch vehicles, Northrop Grumman. “As the only supersonic sea skimming target produced in the United States, the Coyote is part of a family of tactical targets that ensures U.S. Navy systems are ready and capable to defend against threats.”
The GQM-163 Coyote is a supersonic sea skimming target built by Northrop Grumman (formerly Orbital ATK) 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. 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$52m modification to its existing contract, for 18 Lot 12 targets plus some Foreign Military Sales.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is an American multinational aerospace and defense technology company. With 90,000 employees and an annual revenue in excess of $30 billion, it is one of the world’s largest weapons manufacturers and military technology providers. The firm ranks No. 96 on the 2020 Fortune 500 list of America’s largest corporations. Northrop Grumman and its industry partners have won the Collier Trophy eight times, most recently for developing the X-47B, the first unmanned, autonomous air system to operate from an aircraft carrier. Northrop Grumman pioneering solutions equip our customers with capabilities they need to connect, advance and protect the U.S. and its allies.