As the proliferation of drones over the modern battlefield continues, so do efforts to counter threats of "swarms" being made up of dozens or more of such air vehicles (particularly the more agile quad-rotors). The Raytheon "Coyote" has been developed for that very purpose as an expendable, portable anti-drone system and the series is being acquired by the United States Army for service entry before the end of 2018. Beyond its stated over-battlefield value, the Coyote system is touted with traditional UAS qualities such as threat assessment, damage assessment, targeting, and surveillance - all offered in real-time.
The swarm concept is dubbed "LOCUST" standing for "LOw-Cost Uav Swarm Technology".
Tests conducted in 2016 revealed the Coyote's ability to reach a target area, in formation, through autonomous networking after being launched as a swarm (from MLRS-style launcher packs). In 2017, six vehicles were successfully used to collect data on Hurricane Maria by the National Oceanographic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA). This "mini-swarm" entered the hurricane and faced wind speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. So beyond its military value, the Coyote certainly has scientific and humanitarian capabilities for those interested customers.
Much like an Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM), the Coyote is tube-launched and carries an integral seeker and warhead. It has a mission endurance window of about one hour and its mission payload is variable to meet the threat and battlefield need. The fuselage is slab-sided with a rounded frontal section. The wing mainplanes are straight appendages mounted over the frontal section while the horizontal tailplanes are fitted low and well-aft along the fuselage. A pair of vertical tail fins are used for the needed control. All of the wing planes are spring-loaded and come into action post-launch - allowing the air vehicle to remain in a compact form during transport. At the extreme rear of the vehicle is a two-bladed propeller unit offering the needed propulsion.
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July 2018 - The United States Army has committed to the purchase of an undisclosed number of Coyote air systems for use in the counter-drone defense role.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
Aircraft inherently designed (or later developed) with an unmanned capability to cover a variety of over-battlefield roles.
3.0 ft (0.91 m)
4.9 ft (1.50 m)
11 lb (5 kg)
13 lb (6 kg)
+2 lb (+1 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Raytheon Coyote production variant)
1 x Electric motor driving power to a two-bladed propeller unit arranged at the back of the fuselage in "pusher" configuration.
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