Missile Defense Agency speeds up in search of hypersonic interceptors


Huntsville, Alabama — Missile Defense Agency Press the pause button in an effort to bring defensive hypersonic weapons online, Now you are ready to move forward. Attractive industry At the beginning of the effort.

“We have received great feedback from the industry. This is feasible and must be done without fear,” said MDA Director Vice Admiral John Hill. Told in Defense News At the SMD symposium here on August 12, “So we are undertaking it.”

Just a year ago, MDA had a different answer as to where it was heading. Hypersonic defense, According to Hill, the focus is on solutions under development at the science and technology stage.

But after taking a step back and assessing the U.S. ballistic missile defense capabilities, authorities realized that it already had some means. Work on hypersonic weapons Use maritime assets such as naval carrier strike groups with the ability to combat the threat of high-speed maneuvers in the final stages of flight.

NS Maritime X-band terminal He said it is another example of the current ability to track hypersonic threats at the end of life.

NS Aegis shipBoasting range-launched weapons, “remember, they aren’t that expensive,” so you can see hypersonic weapons on the battlefield, Hill said. “They are about 70 kg.”

Future efforts that are already going online Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS), Low Earth orbit satellites to discover hypersonic missiles in flight, and SPY-6 radar Hill added that it would further enhance its ability to track hypersonic threats.

The agency has determined that it makes the most sense to focus on extracting hypersonic weapons during the glide phase of their most vulnerable flight, Hill said.

The MDA then evaluated current and possible features and concepts to enable detection, tracking, and interception of hypersonic weapons during its glide phase.

The agency investigated data from enemy systems. “Our enemies are constantly flying these things and collecting that data with our existing sensor architecture,” Hill said. “We were pulling down that data and were able to run a fidelity system model.”

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Using that data, MDA asked: What kind of detour function do you need? Do you want to use a fragmentation warhead or do a hit-to-kill in the glide phase because it’s another battle? It’s a different environment, “Hill said.

Hill said he found that the MDA could use the existing booster stack and focus on developing the front end of the interceptor.

He said that what is currently lacking is a weapon. Existing systems such as the SM-3 interceptor designed to operate in space and the SM-6 designed to operate in the atmosphere “do not reach there.”

Armed with a new strategy, the agency solicited the industry in April for a white paper on Glide Phase Interceptor (GPI) solutions.

The MDA is still reducing the risk of bringing better features online later, but Hill says, “From a regional perspective, we can do this right now.”

The agency first focused on providing functionality to the Navy, “if this succeeded,” Hill said, “to protect others from this type of hypersonic threat, it’s a land-based battery. Can be moved to. “

Hill couldn’t elaborate on the timeline for developing the Glide Phase Interceptor, but said he would review the system requirements later this year and select an industry team to work on.

And there is the problem of securing future funds. This hasn’t been decided yet, but it will also affect the timeline of efforts, Hill said.

During the presentation at the SMD Symposium, Hill played a short video explaining how GPI works as part of a multi-layer hypersonic defense feature.

In this scenario, the enemy fired four hypersonic aircraft in a row. HBTSS detects the first, second, and third stages of launch and separation from boosters and relays that information to the Overhead Sustained Infrared Architecture (BOA) of ballistic missile defense systems.

BOA uses real-time data from HBTSS to create tracks for hypersonic glide vehicles. The Aegis ship then receives fire control quality data from the BOA and Command Control Battle Management Communication System (C2BMC) via satellite communications.

Aegis then uses remote tracking and remote engagement capabilities to activate the GPI, fly faster than the threat, agile, and retrieve the hypersonic glide vehicle.