To make this website work, we log user data. By using Shephard's online services, you agree to our Privacy Policy, including cookie policy.

Open menu Search

Final Tranche 0 tracking satellites launched for US Missile Defense Agency

15th February 2024 - 18:05 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


Five L3Harris missile tracking satellites were launched on 14 February. (Photo: L3Harris)

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) initiated the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) programme in 2018 and in January 2021 awarded Other Transaction Agreements to L3Harris Technologies and Northrop Grumman for the creation of prototype systems.

Five L3Harris Technologies’ missile tracking satellites were launched on 14 February as part of the MDA’s HBTSS programme and the Space Development Agency’s (SDA) Tranche 0 (T0) Tracking Layer programme.

One of the L3Harris units, a HBTSS satellite, was an on-orbit prototype demonstration that can track manoeuvring hypersonic missiles flying beyond the range of today’s ballistic missile detection capabilities. A second HBTSS satellite was also launched.

The other four infrared satellites will support SDA’s Tracking Layer, which will demonstrate global indications, warning, tracking and targeting of advanced threats such as hypersonic missile and were the final satellites in the Tranche 0 program bringing the on-orbit constellation to 27.

The combined launch also supported SDA’s Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture by integrating missile tracking and missile defence sensors.

The DoD will use a common set of data to adjust and modify the capabilities for the SDA’s Tranche 1 and 2 Tracking Layer constellation. Earlier this year, L3Harris received a US$919 million contract to develop an 18-vehicle constellation for the SDA’s Tranche 2 Tracking Layer satellite programme.

Derek Tournear, director of SDA, said: “We'll be able to look at test targets from the same orbit at the same time, so that we can see how the two sensors work together.

“In Tranche 1, SDA will fly both sensor types as an operational system – medium-field-of-view demonstrating fire control, based on HBTSS design, and wide-field-of-view doing warning and tracking, based on T0 tracking design.”

The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

As part of our promise to deliver comprehensive coverage to Premium News and Defence Insight …

Read full bio

Share to