The US Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman a production contract for 18 additional GQM-163A Coyote supersonic sea-skimming target vehicles in a $55.4m deal, bringing the total orders to date up to 218 platforms.
Revealing the contract award on May 14, Northrop Grumman said that it was the first of three options that could be exercised against the full-rate production contract awarded in 2020.
Northrop Grumman designed and developed the Coyote in the early 2000s, with the first flight in 2003. The company has since delivered 124 targets to the US Navy and launched 81 times.
The Coyote system provides the US Navy with a target that simulates supersonic anti-ship cruise missile threats and can be used as a Mach 2.5+ sea skimming target or as a Mach 3.5+ diving target from an altitude of 52,000ft.