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From investigating hurricanes to destroying drones: Coyote, the mini-UAV for

On February 28, US company Raytheon won a $ 32.8 million contract to develop a Marauder-type weapon system as part of the Autonomous Swarm / Strike Loitering Munitions program. This capacity is developed from the Coyote Block 3 UAV, which, as we shall see, is the ninth application of this interesting device that can be used as a disposable UAV, a missile, or even a scientific tool against hurricanes.

In 2004, the US Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) published specifications for a UAV that can be launched from the Sonobuoy donors from patrol aircraft such as the P-3C Orion. The so-called Sonochute-Launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or SL-UAV was intended to be a small, single-use UAV designed to increase the surveillance capacity of patrol aircraft at sea. Advanced Research Inc. received an order from Naval Systems Command (NAVAIR) to develop the Coyote UAV that would meet these requirements.

The coyote is stored in a tube and can be started from a Sonobuoy dispenser. After take-off, two sets of blades are deployed, a double vertical stabilizer and the propeller propeller activated by an electric motor. It has a GPS guidance system with autonomous navigation mode, but it can be guided via a radio frequency link. It has interchangeable sensors such as a CCD camera and an uncooled thermal imaging camera. It has an hour of autonomy, a range of 37 km, a length of less than a meter, a weight of 6.4 kg. and a service cap of 7,600 meters. It is designed as a disposable item, but can also be accessed with a parachute.

The first flight of the Coyote took place in 2007 from a Beechraft C-12 Huron. BAE Systems bought the company in 2009 and later sold it as Sensintel to one of its founders. Eventually Raytheon acquired it in 2015 and has now developed its activities within the Missile Systems division.

Employees vs. UAVs

The US Army viewed the Coyote as an ideal system for shooting down enemy UAVs, pushing them against them, or detonating an explosive charge near their target. This is why Raytheon developed Ground Based Air Defense (GBAD), which uses the coyote as a kinetic element connected to radars and electro-optical sensors to detect and track UAVS. It’s light enough to ride on an off-roader like the M-ATV.

In July 2018, Raytheon was hired by the Army to develop the Coyote C-UAS, for which it was equipped with a radio frequency seeker and an explosive warhead detonated by a proximity fuse called the Coyote 1B. It can shoot down Category I and II UAVs and reach Initial Operating Capacity (IOC) in June 2019. The Coyote Block 2 has a rocket engine, increased speed and autonomy, and four fins that give it greater maneuverability against maneuverable targets in 2020, the Army commissioned it to integrate it into the defense system against UAVs called Howler.

Investigate storms

The coyote has been used as a meteorological sensor since September 2014, which is responsible for the investigation of hurricanes by the US Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Launched from a modified P-3 for storm research, it provides real-time information on airspeed, temperature and air pressure at close range or at altitudes that would not be safe for other aircraft. In 2017, six of these devices were launched in Hurricane Maria, which can withstand winds of more than 160 km / h.

Form swarms

In 2016, several tests were conducted to form swarms with the coyote, with more than 20 of these UAVs launched from platforms on land and at sea, swarms formed and the ability to autonomously move in formation demonstrated. This function can be used in various applications such as: B. in surveillance and reconnaissance or when attacking multiple moving targets.

Attack and reconnaissance for unmanned ships and submarines

Based on the recently signed contract, Raytheon will develop from Coyote Block 3 (CB3) a fast way for marine surface vehicles (unmanned surface craft or UPS) and unmanned underwater vehicles (unmanned underwater craft or UUV) to launch UAVs. Through the Coyote, they will be able to have intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) resources and to carry out precise attacks even over long distances. (Jos M Navarro Garca)

Photo: The Coyote-based anti-drone system can be integrated into vehicles such as the M-ATV (Raytheon).

The peculiar silhouette of the coyote (Raytheon)

The Coyote first took off against a hurricane in 2014. In the background the P-3 (NOAA) used for research

The coyote design (Raytheon)

Demo LOCUS (ONR)

The swarm experiments with the coyote in 2016 (Raytheon)

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