DULLES, Va., Feb 13, 2006 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE:ORB) announced today that it has received the first full production order from the U.S. Navy for 19 GQM-163A "Coyote" Supersonic Sea-Skimming Target (SSST) missiles. The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), based at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland, awarded Orbital the program's first full-rate production contract following a highly successful two-year development and flight test program. The new contract award covers 19 production vehicles. Including a previously awarded low-rate initial production order (LRIP) of 20 vehicles, Orbital is now under firm contract to build and deliver a total of 39 vehicles through early 2008, of which 4 vehicles have already been delivered to the Navy. In addition, six previously delivered vehicles were launched in the test program from 2003 to 2005. The total contract value of the production order is estimated to be in excess of $20 million.
Mr. Keven Leith, Orbital's Coyote Program Manager, said, "We are extremely pleased with the performance of the production target missile. The success of our first operational flight in October 2005 validated that the SSST Coyote target is ready for operational status and full-rate production in support of U.S. Navy fleet training exercises. Orbital and our industry partners are excited and proud to be part of the U.S. Navy GQM-163A team."
GQM-163A "Coyote" Program Update
Orbital was awarded an initial development contract in 2000 to meet the Navy's requirement for an affordable SSST system to simulate high-speed anti-ship cruise missiles for fleet training and weapon systems research, development, test and evaluation. Orbital and the Navy completed the development phase of the program with the last of six fully successful test flights in April 2005. Since that time, Orbital carried out the first operational launch of the Coyote in October 2005, enabling the program to enter its operational phase. Since mid-2005, Orbital has been executing the LRIP phase of the program before receiving two incremental full-rate production orders in December and January, which together totaled 19 vehicles.
Captain Richard Walter, the U.S. Navy's Program Manager of Aerial Target and Decoy Systems, said, "Last year, we conducted the first operational flight of the new supersonic sea-skimming target vehicle, the first one of its kind successfully developed by the U.S. Navy in 30 years. The first operational flight and exercise support to the U.S. Navy fleet was a great success. I am confident that the Coyote will continue to provide an excellent testing capability for U.S. Navy ship combat systems. The GQM-163A program is looking forward to providing this target in support of U.S. Navy fleet exercises well into the future."
The GQM-163A Coyote target missile design integrates a four-inlet, solid-fuel ducted-rocket ramjet propulsion system into a compact missile airframe 18 feet long and 14 inches in diameter. Ramjet supersonic takeover speed is achieved using a decommissioned Navy MK 70 solid rocket motor for the first stage. Rail-launched from Navy test and training ranges, the highly maneuverable GQM-163A Coyote achieves cruise speeds of over Mach 2.5 following the separation of the MK 70 first-stage booster. The range of the target vehicle system is approximately 50 nautical miles at altitudes of less than 20 feet above the sea surface.
Orbital is developing and manufacturing the Coyote vehicles at its launch vehicle engineering and production facility in Chandler, Arizona. Orbital's major subcontractors include Aerojet Corporation in Gainesville, Virginia and Sacramento, California, for the solid-fuel ducted-rocket motor, and CEi, Inc. in Sacramento, California, for the vehicle's avionics system.
Orbital develops and manufactures small space and rocket systems for commercial, military and civil government customers. The company's primary products are satellites and launch vehicles, including low-orbit, geosynchronous-orbit and planetary spacecraft for communications, remote sensing, scientific and defense missions; ground- and air-launched rockets that deliver satellites into orbit; and missile defense systems that are used as interceptor and target vehicles. Orbital also offers space-related technical services to government agencies and develops and builds satellite-based transportation management systems for public transit agencies and private vehicle fleet operators.
More information about Orbital can be found at http://www.orbital.com.
SOURCE: Orbital Sciences Corporation
Orbital Sciences Corporation Public and Investor Relations Barron Beneski, 703-406-5528 Beneski.firstname.lastname@example.org