The always excellent “Warzone” on “The Drive”.
Remember, the hypersonic missiles get up to speed(Mach 5) and then release the glider, which is a “Hyper-Maneuvering” vehicle. The maneuvering is what makes them hard to hit. And almost certainly, the booster turns into chaffing and flares to confuse the tracking. There are also considerations concerning ammunition.
Will our ships have enough ammo to hit the decoy threats and real threats?
I was told we also developed some bad ass tech to boost the systems we already have. Which, reportedly don’t work.
But I was told they do. By some science guys who work for science R&D on science stuff.
Down by the river half past the hour.
The Article from The Drive.
The new video depicting this system, titled “MDA Concept for Regional Hypersonic Missile Defense: Technology to Defeat the Threat,” describes MDA’s plans “to protect the US, its deployed forces, and allies against regional hypersonic threats using a multi-layered solution to defend against the next generation of hypersonic glide vehicles,” according to the video’s description. The MDA’s current concept for a Regional Hypersonic Missile Defense system combines Aegis Combat System-equipped surface vessels with both space-based and ground-based sensor systems, and ties them together with various integrated fire control and sensor fusion networks. The aforementioned GPI, along with the increasingly capable Standard Missile 6 (SM-6), a multi-purpose weapon that already has the ability to engage certain ballistic missiles in the terminal stage of their flight, would then be used to prosecute the incoming HGVs.
In the video, two space-based sensors from the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) constellation detect the launches and track the HGVs while they’re still attached to their boosters and flying along a more typical ballistic trajectory. Those sensors then continue to track the HGVs after they separate, providing a “fire control-quality track” for subsequent intercept attempts.
In 2019, MDA kicked off a competition to build these missile defense satellites when it awarded initial development contracts to four companies, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Leidos, and L3Harris. In January, it picked Northrop Grumman and L3Harris to move onto the next phase. The goal in the past has been to have the first HBTSS satellite deployed in 2023. It’s not clear how many total satellites are now expected to form the HBTSS constellation, which is just one of the myriad planned space-based early warning and missile defense sensors that the U.S. military plans to put into orbit in the coming years.
Though not stated specifically in the video, C2BMC provides links to and from an array of other ground, sea, and space-based sensors beyond HBTSS. This includes Aegis-equipped warships, which can work together to relay tracking and targeting information between themselves while attempt to intercept incoming HGVs.
HBTSS is also expected to be able to directly cue the radars on Aegis-equipped ships to point in the direction of an incoming threat that is outside of their scan range. This will help them be able to immediately pick it up when it does get within range, in what is called a “cued organic” intercept concept.
The planned Glide Phase Interceptor (GPI), an effort that supplanted the previous Regional Glide Phase Weapon System (RGPWS) project earlier this year, is expected to be the primary anti-hypersonic interceptor employed in all of these different engagement concepts. Details about the GPI’s required capabilities are still limited, but MDA has already issued solicitations for proposals from contractors to develop the weapon, which the video says will be capable of “overmatching the speed and agility of hypersonic threats.”
MDA also sees the SM-6 missile as offering another option to engage incoming HGVs in the terminal stage of their flight. It first emerged in April that the Agency was eying SM-6 for use in the hypersonic defense role and that it plans to try to knock down a hypersonic boost-glide vehicle surrogate with one of these missiles sometime during the 2024 Fiscal Year, all of which you can read about more here. It is assumed that this plan revolves around the still-in-development enlarged SM-6 Block IB variant, which will be able to reach hypersonic speeds itself.
It is also worth noting that MDA is interested in expanding the missile defense capabilities of the SM-6 series, broadly. A test in May that involved a pair of ballistic missile defense-optimized SM-6s, known as SM-6 Dual IIs, fired at a surrogate for a medium-range ballistic missile, notably ended in failure.
At the same time, Russia and China, potential American adversaries, have already begun fielding various types of hypersonic weapons and are in the process of developing more. MDA Director Navy Vice Admiral Jon Hill highlighted the threat that boost-glide vehicles and other hypersonic weapons pose to aircraft carriers, specifically, the same notional high-value target in the recent released video, during a Congressional hearing last week.
“It’s important that we have that capability [hypersonic defense] now because the hypersonic threat is there now,” he said. “What we want to do is move further back into that trajectory, engage earlier, make the terminal defense even better. And so, the glide phase interceptor is under acceleration in the [Fiscal Year 2022] budget.”