Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Appendix 4: Undesignated Vehicles
Copyright © 2006 Andreas Parsch

Advanced Ceramics Research Coyote

In 2004, the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR) drafted a specification for an SL-UAV (Sonochute-Launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicle). This was to be an expendable vehicle, which could be stored in and launched from a standard airborne sonobuoy dispenser. The SL-UAV's primary mission is to provide P-3C Orion patrol aircraft with a standoff surveillance capability. Advanced Ceramics Research Inc. was awarded a NAVAIR (Naval Air Systems Command) contract, and developed the Coyote UAV to satisfy the SL-UAV requirement.

Photo: Advanced Ceramics Research

The Coyote comes packed in a canister, which can be launched from standard sonobuoy dispensers. Once the canister has been ejected from the dispenser, a parachute deploys and the canister is drawn away from the airframe. Then the UAV's two pairs of wings, the twin vertical tails and the propeller blades are extended, the small electric motor is started, and the autopilot initiates a pull-up manoeuver. The vehicle is equipped with a GPS-based navigation system to fly completely automatic missions, but can also be controlled via a line-of-sight datalink. The Coyote's sensor is either a commercial Sony FCB-IX10A digital video camera or a BAE SCC500 uncooled infrared camera. The Coyote is regarded as an expendable asset, and therefore has to be very cheap in mass production. However, a Coyote UAV could probably survive a belly landing in a reusable state.

A test launch of a Coyote from a C-12 aircraft is planned for spring 2006, followed by a launch from a P-3C later that year. In principle, the UAV can be deployed by any airplane or helicopter which can be fitted with sonobuoys.


Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate!

Data for Coyote:

Length0.9 m (3 ft)
Wingspan1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight6.4 kg (14 lb)
Speedmax: 140 km/h (87 mph); cruise: 93 km/h (58 mph)
Ceiling7600 m (25000 ft)
Range37 km (20 nm)
Endurance1.5 h
PropulsionElectric motor

Main Sources

[1] Michael Peck: "Undersized Drone Promises Extended Maritime Surveillance", National Defense Magazine, January 2006
[2] Office of Naval Research Website
[3] Advanced Ceramics Research "Coyote Specifications" data sheet

Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 4

Last Updated: 19 January 2006