The US Air Force and US Army are actively pursuing the development of the Coyote unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) as an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) asset, as well as for delivering kinetic payloads, according to the platform's manufacturer, Raytheon.
While Coyote continues to be the backbone of the Office of Naval Research's (ONR) Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology (LOCUST) effort, the army has asked Raytheon to develop a counter unmanned air system (C-UAS) capability for Coyote to defend against small quad-copter UAVs, Raytheon's John Hobday told IHS Jane's.
"We are embarking on a programme for Coyote to deliver a kinetic effect and essentially destroy a quad-copter," Hobday said. The effort is being pursued as a Quick Reaction Capability (QRC) to deliver a basic, interim capability, he added.
"The Coyote UAV offers the army a platform with a Technology Readiness Level 9 based on some recent USAF deployment work," Hobday noted.
"What [the army] has is a good airplane solution. The challenge over the next couple of months will be to develop the intercept capability and the effective kinetic payload," he added.
The army wants the C-UAS system before the end of 2017, Hobday said.
"They are looking at more than just quadcopters, it is Group 1 UAVs [also]," Pete Mangelsdorf, director of UAS for Raytheon, told IHS Jane's.
Raytheon is continuing its colaboration with ONR as the research agency works on future phases under the LOCUST programme, and the company continues to engage with the USAF for an off-board sensor for an Air Force Special Operations Command tactical off-board sensing effort.
While the US Department of Defense is pursuing the development of autonomous unmanned systems and in particular, UAVs, Hobday noted there is an important distinction to make: Coyote is focused very much on the "man on the loop, not in the loop".
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