Northrop Grumman
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Navy Collects Coyote Targets from Northrop Grumman

Dec. 1, 2020
The GQM-163A Coyote hits speeds beyond Mach 2.5 while whizzing just 15' above ocean waters, or it can climb to altitudes of 50,000' for high-diving flight trajectories.

The Naval Air Systems Command (Patuxent River, MD) has awarded a $57 million contract to Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. (Chandler, AZ) for the manufacture and delivery of 19 production GQM-163A “Coyote” supersonic sea-skimming targets. Three of the Coyotes are for the government of Japan and 16 for the U.S. Navy. Because of its unique capabilities, GQM-163A launches have been conducted for several foreign customers in addition to the U.S. Navy. Work on the production-ready target vehicles will be performed at several Northrop Grumman facilities, including in Camden, AK, Chandler, AZ, and Vergennes, VT, with the contract expected to be completed in December 2023.

The GQM-163A Coyote integrates a solid-fuel, ramjet air-breathing ducted rocket propulsion system into a missile airframe that is 18 ft. long and 14 in. in diameter (see figure). The high-performance vehicle, which has been rail launched from naval test and training ranges, achieves speeds of greater than Mach 2.5 while flying just 15 ft. above the ocean’s surface. The highly maneuverable vehicle can reach altitudes of more than 50,000 ft. while flying with 10 g of acceleration. It has two flight trajectories to combat ocean-bound targets: sea skimmer and high-diving flight patterns. 

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

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