The U.S. Navy has handed a contract to Raytheon for versions of its Coyote small unmanned aerial vehicle configured as loitering munitions, also known as “suicide drones.” The service says that it specifically wants them to support the development of unmanned surface and underwater vehicles as platforms to launch drone swarms, which could offer a slate of game-changing capabilities.
The Pentagon announced the deal, valued at up to almost $33 million if all the options were to be exercised, in its daily contracting notice on Feb. 26, 2021. The announcement said that the contract, which the Office of Naval Research (ONR) awarded to Raytheon, was for “Coyote Block 3 (CB3) Autonomous Strike” drones to support work on “Autonomous Swarm/Strike – Loitering Munitions.”
This is “a rapid capability effort to achieve operational launch capability from unmanned surface vessels (USVs) and an unmanned underwater vessel (UUV). The intended concept of operations (CONOP) and tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) are to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and precision strike capability from maritime platforms,” the contracting notice added. “Additionally, the High Volume Long Range Precision Strike (HVLRPS) from USVs and Fires (HVLRPF) from UUVs demonstrations will leverage prior efforts including the Innovative Naval Prototype (INP) and progress on the Mobile Precision Attack Vehicle (MoPAV).”