US MDA prepares hypersonic and ballistic missile defence
Northrop Grumman has completed the critical design review of the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) prototype for the US Missile Defense Agency.
The review establishes the company’s technical approach for precise timely sensor coverage to defeat ballistic and hypersonic missiles.
HBTSS satellites will provide continuous tracking and handoff to enable the targeting of enemy missiles.
They are an essential component of the Overhead Persistent Infrared multi-layered constellation of satellites, which can sense heat signatures to detect and track missiles from their earliest stages of launch.
The threat of hypersonic missiles has been a hot topic recently, following a Chinese missile test in August earlier this year.
A hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) serves the same purpose as an intercontinental ballistic missile, but never leaves the atmosphere.
Instead, the HGV glides in the atmosphere and is able to perform skip glide manoeuvres which confuse missile defences, making it difficult to intercept and anticipate the target.
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