GQM-163A “Coyote” Supersonic Sea-Skimming Target

Testing U.S. Navy Missile Defense Systems for more than 20 years

missile being launched from land

The GMQ-163A “Coyote” is a threat representative target vehicle used to support the critical mission of testing ship anti-cruise missile defenses for the U.S. and allied navies. The Coyote is the only supersonic sea-skimming target produced in the U.S. and program of record for the U.S. Navy, providing a cost-effective target to simulate advanced supersonic anti-ship cruise missile threats.

Northrop Grumman provides program management, systems engineering, integrated logistics support, production, system integration, supporting research, development, test and evaluation of Ship Defense Systems fleet training exercises, and flight-testing for the GQM-163A program.

two rockets launching from earth

Key Features

  • Design integrates a solid-fuel, air-breathing ducted rocket propulsion system into a compact missile airframe 18 feet long and 14 inches in diameter.
  • Achieves speeds over Mach 2.5 while flying 15 feet above the surface of the ocean and capable of maneuvers above 10g acceleration.
  • “High Diver” variant achieves altitudes over 50,000 feet before pouncing on its target at near hypersonic speeds.
  • Demonstrated operations at five different launch sites around the world.
  • High performance avionics capable of providing multiple threat scenarios.
  • Capable of performing high-G turns in azimuth or elevation and spiral maneuvers while hosting payloads with different radar cross sections and electronic countermeasures to challenge shipboard electronic and kinetic defense systems.
  • Agile program and hardware architecture designed to meet customer-specified test requirements and missile behavior.
  • Launch from a multiple land-based launchers employing automated launch control hardware.
  • Launch single, dual or quad targets nearly simultaneously.
missile inflight over ocean

Two Decades of Target Deliveries

Northrop Grumman has produced more than 180 Coyote target vehicles since 2000 when the Naval Air Systems Command first awarded the contract to produce the targets. Over the course of two decades, Northrop Grumman has been awarded 17 full-rate production contracts of the reliable and proven threat representative targets.

land-based rocket launcher

Strengthening Capacity to Support Missile Defense

Every new interceptor designed to protect the Homeland must be verified against a threat-representative target before it can be added to the nation’s missile defense arsenal. As near-peer adversaries develop weapon systems designed to outwit and defeat the U.S., our strategic and tactical missile defense systems must constantly evolve and advance. Over the last 20 years, our team has leveraged advanced technologies, agile processes, and legacy of expertise to expand the target vehicle’s capabilities and bolster capacity to deliver more than 25 targets per year to customers including the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and numerous international partners. Northrop Grumman target vehicles, including the GQM-163A, provides confidence that our nation’s systems, both old and new, are able to detect, identify and defeat incoming threats when it matters most.

GQM-163A in the News

Coyote Target Vehicle Launch

Northrop Grumman Achieves 100th Coyote Target Vehicle Launch

Coyote Target Vehicle Launch

US Navy Orders Additional Sea Skimming Target Vehicles from Northrop Grumman

land based rocket launcher

Strengthening Missile Defense through Suborbital Target Vehicles

NAVAIR Public Release SPR-2024-0365. Distribution Statement A - "Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited”