Raytheon is exploring the development of a second generation of its Coyote expendable unmanned air vehicle, which will contain a number of elements that can be selected by an operator depending on its requirements.
Coyote is deployable from a sonobuoy or common launch tube, and can swarm enemy air defences or carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Raytheon is now planning a second variant of the system, which will drive the cost down to make it an even more appealing expendable system.
"We are right now zeroing in on a new Coyote design that we believe will provide a low-cost capability," John Hobday, business development lead at Raytheon’s unmanned systems division, told FlightGlobal.
This will include multiple payload and engine options, and trade-offs on endurance and payload can be made depending on the requirements.
“As we look at the payloads we are looking at the breadth, including kinetic,” Hobday noted.
It will use commercial components to make the system cheaper, in order to “overwhelm an adversary with a low-cost investment”, Hobday says.
While some of the key components are yet to be decided on, Raytheon is planning to begin test flying some versions of the new Coyote towards the end of the year.
It is also working on export licences for the UAV, and is in discussions with the US government on how to sell the technology overseas.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration deploys Coyote from its Lockheed Martin P-3 Orions for hurricane hunting, and testing of datalink and sensor modifications are due to begin this week ahead of the hurricane season in the USA, Hobday added.