Northrop Receives Additional Navy Target Missile Order; Rich Straka Quoted

Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) will manufacture 18 more supersonic sea-skimming target vehicles for the U.S. Navy under a $55.4 million contract option.

This award represents the first of three options under a potential $257 million full-rate production contract announced in December 2020 and brings the number of total GQM-163A Coyote vehicles ordered by the military branch to 218, Northrop said Friday.

The Coyote SSST is intended to function as a sea-skimming or diving target at supersonic speeds from an altitude of up to 52,000 feet.

Rich Straka, vice president of launch vehicles at Northrop, said the system is designed to combine a “solid-fuel, air-breathing ducted rocket propulsion system” and avionics technology that simulates multiple threat scenarios.

The company produces the targets at its launch vehicle factory in Chandler, Arizona, and uses 3D printing equipment in the manufacturing process.

Naval Air Systems Command manages the Coyote acquisition program and conducts related launch activities from San Nicolas Island in California, the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii, White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The Navy has received 124 targets from the company and completed 81 system deployments since the program’s inception in the early 2000s.

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