Orbital Launches 40th Coyote Supersonic Ramjet-Powered Target Missile for US Navy

Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB), one of the world’s leading space technology companies, today announced it successfully launched its 40th Coyote supersonic sea-skimming target (SSST) vehicle for the U.S. Navy. The mission included consecutive launches of two Coyote missiles from the Pacific Missile Range in Hawaii. Each of the Coyote missiles was rail-launched from the coast, executed their planned flight patterns and provided a successful target presentation for the customer.

“Since the flight test program began in 2003, we have achieved a very high rate of success with the Coyote SSST system,” said Orbital’s Coyote Program Manager Keven Leith. “Tests of this nature can be costly for customers to conduct from a logistics standpoint. However, the Coyote’s low production cost and outstanding operational track record have provided an excellent value for our customers. Our dedicated SSST product team has worked hard to ensure the success of this program.”

The Coyote program, managed by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland, launched the first test flight of the unguided target in January 2003. This was followed by six additional test flights, each with increasing capabilities, in 2003 and 2004. In 2005, the vehicle began full operations, now having launched 40 targets to date with an extremely high success rate. Coyote targets have been launched from three ranges including San Nicholas Island, California; Kauai, Hawaii; and Levant, France. Additional launch site capabilities are planned for the future to support the operations of current and new customers. 

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The design of the Coyote target vehicle integrates a four-inlet, solid-fuel ducted-rocket ramjet propulsion system into a compact missile airframe 18 feet long and 14 inches in diameter. Ramjet supersonic takeover speed is achieved using a decommissioned Navy MK 70 solid rocket motor for the first stage. Rail-launched from naval test and training ranges, the highly maneuverable Coyote has two optional flight trajectories: sea-skimmer and high-altitude. Originally designed as a sea-skimming supersonic target, Coyote has completed 34 low-altitude, Mach 2.5-class flights since 2003. These missions included altitudes as low as 15 feet, maneuverability up to 12 Gs of lateral acceleration, and ranges of up to 55 nautical miles. Introduced three years ago, the high-altitude variant of Coyote has completed six Mach 3.25-class flights since 2010. These included altitudes up to 40,000 feet, power dives at user-specified downward angles, and ranges up to 120 nautical miles.

Source: Orbital Sciences Corp.
Date: Sep 11, 2013