Nov. 4 (UPI) — A $57 million contract with Northrop Grumman to build supersonic target missiles for the U.S. Navy and Japan has been announced by the U.S. Defense Department.
The deal calls for manufacture and delivery of 19 GQM-163A Coyote sea-skimming targets — 16 for the U.S. Navy and three for the Japan Self-Defense Force — according to a Tuesday Pentagon statement.
The Japanese government will provide $9.01 million of the funding for the contract, the statement said.
The maneuverable, sea-skimming missile is used as a cost-efficient simulation of an anti-ship cruise missile, and is capable of traveling at 2.5 times the speed of sound.
It has sea-skimming capabilities, indicating that it can operate 20 feet above the surface of the ocean, and is used as a target. It can also provide research into ship defense systems and support fleet training exercises.
First test-launched in 2004, the United States, Japan, Australia and France include the missile in their arsenals.
Rail-launched from Navy test and training ranges, the18-foot long missile reaches its high speed after it separates from following the separation of a Hercules MK-70 first-stage solid-fuel booster rocket.
The contract calls for work to be completed by 2023.