PAAMS now can rightly claim it can handle highly supersonic threats, after the French Navy's Forbin destroyer [note: France classes its two Horizon vessels, for some reason, as frigates...], of the Horizon class, shot down a Coyote supersonic target drone in a test on April 4, 2012.
The trial validates the PAAMS system, which is used by the RN's Type 45 destroyers, albeit in a different variant, due to the use of a different radar set (SAMPSON against EMPAR).
The target used is a GQM-163A Coyote, designed and produced in the US. It is an horrendously expensive system, but it is invaluable in simulating the most powerful ship-killer missiles in the world: in the terminal approach phase, the GQM-163A flies at Mach 2.5 at 16 feet of altitude, providing unrivalled realism, and an ultimate challenge for the SAM system of a warship.
The latest variant of the drone, the High Diver, ascends to 35,000 feet and Mach 3.3 cruise under ramjet power, and executes a 40-degree unpowered dive to its objective point near the ocean’s surface at the end of its 110 mile journey.
With this attack profile, the Coyote can simulate (as much as possible, anyway) the ballistic anti-ship missiles of China and Iran.
France ordered one such target drone plust technical support and related material for 9.2 million dollars in 2007, and finally used it on 4 April 2012 for the test.
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