Raytheon was contracted in July 2018 by the US Army for the delivery of an undisclosed number of Coyote Block 1B expendable drone. In the meantime, the US missile maker has been developing a more advanced, Block 2, variant.
Raytheon dropped the Block 1 foldout tandem wings and tail fins to adopt a more conventional « missile-style » configuration. The Coyote Block 2 specifically features improved sensors and rocket motors to significantly increase maneuverability. Propulsion relies on one jet engine, deeply improving speed and loiter time to engage larger and further targets. The Block 2 variant will feature a maximum speed of 200 knots (370 km/h), compared to 70 knots (130 km/h) for the Block 1 variant, and an operational range of 10 to 15 km.
But improving the Coyote doesn’t translate into a massive cost increase. The Coyote 2 has been designed as « a very low cost missile ». The reduced price is achieved by using COTS commercial off the shelf components.
While the Block 2 integrates a single warhead payload, the future Block 3 will adopt a modular design, giving the customer the possibility to integrate various mission payloads, says Raytheon. Its open systems architecture makes its « easy to plug-in with existing C2 and radar systems ». The Coyote Block 2 is a lightweight solution intended to be fitted on light, fast reaction military vehicles.
Primarily developed to answer both US Army and US Marine Corps needs, the Coyote Block 2 will also be proposed to the US Navy as an option « if the service decides to integrate it on its vessels ». Besides US market, the Coyote Block 2 will be proposed to partner countries from 2020.