Navy asks Raytheon for networked swarming unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for reconnaissance and strike

June 9, 2023
FAST is to provide intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and precision strike by completing design modifications to the Coyote block 3.

ARLINGTON, Va. – U.S. Navy anti-air warfare experts needed an advanced unmanned aircraft for reconnaissance and strike that can be launched from unmanned submarines and surface vessels. They found their solution from Raytheon Technologies Corp.

Officials of the Office of Naval Research in Arlington, Va., announced a $146.7 contract last month to the Raytheon Missiles & Defense segment in Tucson, Ariz., for the Future Advanced Strike (FAST) project -- essentially a modernized version of the Raytheon tube-launched Coyote block 3 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

FAST is to provide intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and precision strike capability by completing design modifications to the Coyote block 3.

Raytheon will complete configurations and develop technical data, manufacturing test, for an enhanced payload air system, a new launch module, a fire control system, and ancillary support.

Related: Military researchers ask industry to enhance unmanned vehicle swarms for enemy reconnaissance and attack

The Coyote is a small, expendable, and tube-launched UAV that can be deployed from the ground, air, or surface warships. It can operate individually or can be networked with other Coyote UAVs in swarming operations for surveillance, electronic warfare (EW), and strike missions.

The system will operate for as long as one hour, and can carry out surveillance imagery, enhanced targeting, near real-time damage assessment, and reduced threat to manned aircraft missions.

The U.S. Army has selected the Coyote for near-term counter-unmanned systems with an advanced seeker and warhead. In 2016 demonstrations on land and at sea, more than two dozen Coyote systems launched in a swarm and moved in formation, demonstrating the effectiveness of autonomous networking.

Related: Artificial intelligence and machine learning for unmanned vehicles

The block 3 Coyote is being designed to provide intelligence and strike capability when launched from unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs).

Raytheon announced in August 2021 that a demonstration of the Block 3 in an air intercept test had used a non-kinetic warhead to defeat a swarm of 10 drones. The Block 3 Coyote has a traditional UAV design with wings and an electric motor similar to the original Coyote Block 1, but is bigger in size.

On this contract, Raytheon will do the work in Tucson, Ariz., and San Luis Obispo, Calif., and should be finished by December 2024. For more information contact Raytheon Missiles & Defense online at, or the Office of Naval Research at

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