HomeSpace NewsHypersonic missile defense program moves toward 2 prototypes

Hypersonic missile defense program moves toward 2 prototypes

The Department of Defense’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has selected Northrop Grumman and Raytheon Missiles and Defense to continue developing prototypes of a Glide Phase Interceptor (GPI), a planned next-generation countermeasure to defend against hypersonic weapons.

While there are several different classes of hypersonic weapons that differ significantly, hypersonic weapons are typically defined as those that travel at Mach 5 or faster, or greater than five times the speed of sound. While it remains unknown what form the GPI will take, concept art typically depicts the interceptor as a rocket-boosted missile, although its exact payload is unknown. 

Raytheon concept art depicting a notional Glide Phase Interceptor. (Image credit: Raytheon Missiles & Defense)

A new contract modification published by MDA (opens in new tab) last week now brings the total value of the contracts awarded to Raytheon and Northrop Grumman to over $60 million. That funding is intended to allow the contractors to develop their designs in advance of a February 2023 review of a prototype hypersonic interceptor. 

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