February 21, 2006:
After six years of effort, the U.S. Navy has put its high-speed anti-ship missile simulator into production. The GQM-163A Coyote SSST (Supersonic Sea-Skimming Target) is a 31 foot long missile with a combination solid fuel rocket and ramjet propulsion. It has a range of 110 kilometers and, because of the ramjet, a top speed of over 2,600 kilometers an hour. The Coyote is meant to give U.S. warships a realistic simulation of an attack by similar Russian cruise missiles (which are also large and fast, and used by China as well.) The production contract calls for 39 GQM-163A to be manufactured over the next three years, at a cost of $515,000 each. The GQM-163A is the first U.S. missile to successfully use modern ramjet engines, and this technology can be now used in other missiles. Older ramjet technology was abandoned in the 1970s.