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[*] posted on 13-2-2020 at 03:05 PM


HCSW Becomes First Casualty Of DOD Hypersonic Push

Steve Trimble February 11, 2020


Artist's concept of HCSW
Credit: Sandia National Laboratories


SINGAPORE—A Lockheed Martin program has become the first casualty in the U.S. Defense Department’s race to deploy a diverse portfolio of hypersonic missiles as soon as possible.

The Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW) program will be concluded after the delayed completion of a critical design review in spring 2020. The milestone event was originally scheduled for the third quarter of 2019.

As the DOD rolled out the fiscal 2021 budget request, the U.S. Air Force issued a termination for convenience notice to Lockheed’s Space division on Feb. 10.

Designed to be launched from a B-52, the Aerojet Rocketdyne-boosted HCSW was the first of five hypersonic missile prototype projects that have entered development since 2018. It features a “front end” derived from the Common Hypersonic Glide Body, which is the basis for boost-glide vehicles in development for the Army’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapon and the Navy’s Intermediate Range Conventional Prompt Strike programs.

The Army and Navy proposed to accelerate development for the land- and sea-launched versions of the common glide body, a comparatively low lift-over-drag, axisymmetric shape that itself traces its origins to the successful Sandia Winged Energetic Re-entry Vehicle Experiment.

Despite the cancelation, the Air Force praised the HCSW program staff for maturing technologies that can be leveraged in the Army, Navy and Missile Defense Agency programs.

As HCSW winds down, the Air Force plans to focus initially on continuing development of the Lockheed Martin AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) prototype. The ARRW, featuring a high lift-over-drag wedge shape, is “on track” to achieve an early operational capability program in fiscal 2022. A first flight of the DARPA Tactical Boost Glide vehicle, which serves as a risk-reduction program for ARRW, is scheduled for later this year.

Since it was developed from the 1970s-era, successful Swerve design, HCSW represented a relatively low-risk path to fielding a hypersonic weapon as quickly as possible. But its cancellation means the Air Force is relying on the more advanced ARRW design, which is deemed less mature. Two previous flight test attempts to demonstrate a similar hypersonic design failed, leading to the cancellation of the DARPA Falcon program in 2012.

At the same time, the Air Force’s interest is growing in another kind of hypersonic weapon technology. DARPA’s High-speed Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC), a scramjet (supersonic combustion)-powered cruise missile, has matured faster than initially expected. DOD and Air Force officials are now discussing plans for launching an operational prototype for HAWC, with the goal of loading 15-20 of the relatively compact weapons into a single B-52.

The DOD remains committed to fielding an air-launched hypersonic weapon in fiscal 2022 and the Army’s first ground-launched system a year later. The Navy plans to deploy the IRCPS prototype on a Virginia-class submarine in fiscal 2028.

But the weapon is only one of the technologies required to field a successful capability, said Gen. Charles Brown, commander of Pacific Air Forces. Speaking on the sidelines of the Singapore Airshow here Feb. 10, Brown emphasized the need to field enabling technologies, such as more advanced command--and-control and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems.

“In the time of flight 8 to 10 minutes that I’ve got a pretty good intel that the target is still going to be there, particularly if it’s a mobile target,” Brown said. “Those are things I’m thinking about. It’s nice to have this weapon, but I’ve got to have the whole thing.”
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[*] posted on 14-2-2020 at 12:26 PM


Russia designs anti-hypersonic missile weapons

Posted On Wednesday, 12 February 2020 12:59

Russia is designing a long-range air missile to intercept maneuvering speed targets. Experts said the design is vital, as the Pentagon announced plans to test four new hypersonic munitions in 2020. The new missile will also fight modern aircraft and cruise missiles. Today, only Russia has hypersonic arms, but many countries are engaged in their creation, the Izvestia daily writes.


Russian Zircon missile concept (Picture source: via USNI )

The Russian Defense Ministry decided to design for MiG-31 fighter jets and the Prospective Airborne Complex of Long-range Interception (PAK DP) a multirole long-range interception system (MFRK DP) capable of downing hypersonic missiles. Sources aware of the situation said theoretical research of the long-range air-to-air missile with a multiple independent reentry vehicle has been completed. The characteristics and composition of the system are being specified. K-77M medium-range air missile is one of the candidates.

President Vladimir Putin said in May 2019 that leading world countries will sooner or later obtain hypersonic weapons. He called to develop defense against them before the weapons appear abroad. The designed missile offers such defense. The heavy high-speed air munition will deliver the reentry vehicle with several air-to-air missiles to several hundreds of kilometers.

The missiles will separate from the carrier, independently search and attack targets.

Such a weapon destroys targets at a major distance, expert Dmitry Kornev said. It is necessary to down the carrier before it releases its missiles. "An ordinary antiaircraft missile has one warhead. The possibility of missing a maneuvering hypersonic target is high. If one weapon carries several homing warheads, the chance to down a high-speed target increases," he said. In case of fire with the long-range interception weapon at hypersonic targets, all warheads will enter the trajectory of the flying munition. The use of a long-range missile expands the destruction zone.

The weapon will be most effective when an aircraft operates in a single information space. Air targets, cruise and hypersonic missiles can be detected by ground radars, AEW aircraft and an early warning system. It will remain for a fighter jet to fire a missile to the necessary area. "The Americans are gradually moving towards the development of hypersonic weapons," expert Vadim Kozyulin said. "A major arms race is in store in the sphere. We have to design defense against such arms already now. The United States is also designing them," he said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said appropriations for the design of hypersonic ground, air and naval weapons will double in 2020. US media said nine projects are designed for the military. Four prototypes are to be tested in 2020.

China is also engaged in the research. In the autumn of 2019, it presented an intermediate-range ballistic DF-17 missile with a maneuvering warhead. Foreign media dub the situation as hypersonic arms race. The US command believes the new weapons will change future wars like the emergence of nuclear weapons did, the Izvestia said.

© Copyright 2020 TASS / Army Recognition Group SPRL. All rights reserved.
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[*] posted on 19-2-2020 at 11:36 AM


China testing hypersonic weapon with intercontinental range, says USNORTHCOM commander

Andrew Tate, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

18 February 2020

China is testing an intercontinental-range hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV), according to written testimony submitted to the US Senate Armed Services Committee on 13 February 2020 by US Air Force General Terrence J O’Shaughnessy, commander of US Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

Although Gen O’Shaughnessy did not identify any specific weapon programme – saying only that the weapon “is designed to fly at high speeds and low altitudes, thus “complicating” the US ability to provide “precise warning” – he was likely referring to a weapon different from the DF-17 HGV-carrying ballistic missile that was exhibited at China’s National Day Parade on 1st October 2019 in Beijing.

(136 of 588 words)
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[*] posted on 27-2-2020 at 06:08 PM


Japan mulls anti-aircraft carrier gliding missiles for remote island defense

February 25, 2020 (Mainichi Japan)


(Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Japan's Defense Ministry is considering upgrading its "hyper velocity gliding projectiles" (HVGP), a new type of missile it is seeking to deploy in fiscal 2026 for the defense of remote islands, to add an anti-ship capability to them, it has been learned.

The move is aimed at improving the defense of the Nansei Islands in southwestern Japan amid China's maritime activities in the region. HVGPs can glide at high velocity after payloads are detached from a rocket in the upper atmosphere where air resistance is low. The missiles are capable of following complex trajectories under the guidance of GPS and other systems, making it harder for an adversary to intercept them than conventional missiles.

The Defense Ministry eyes equipping HVGPs with a new type of payload that is capable of penetrating the deck of aircraft carriers. However, enhancing the firing range and other capabilities of Self-Defense Force (SDF) equipment could be called into question over its consistency with Japan's exclusively defense-oriented policy. The ministry therefore is planning to give due consideration, such as limiting the missile range to around 500 kilometers or less.

The development of HVGPs will come in two stages. In the first stage, an early equipment type will be developed for possible deployment by the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) in fiscal 2026, targeting a potential enemy invading Japan's remote islands. In the second stage, an upgraded type will be developed for possible installation in fiscal 2028 or later, featuring claw-shaped payloads, enhanced speeds and firing ranges, and more complex trajectories.

Furthermore, the ministry is also mulling introducing advanced anti-ship and anti-surface missiles, which are currently under investigation by the Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency. If these technologies are incorporated into HVGPs, the projectiles can penetrate aircraft carrier decks, which are harder than its external walls, before being detonated inside the vessel to make it impossible for aircraft to take off or land, as well as destroy targets within a range of several hundred meters squared.

Behind the ministry's move lies China's intensifying maritime moves in waters near the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture and other parts of Japan. In 2012, China commissioned its first aircraft carrier Liaoning, and the second such vessel, Shandong, was launched in 2019. Shandong is the first Chinese-made carrier. Beijing is said to be further seeking to add at least two more carrier vessels.

Chinese government vessels have been frequently spotted navigating in contiguous zones near the Senkaku Islands and intruding into Japanese territorial waters. While the main island of Okinawa and the Senkakus are about 420 kilometers apart, the GSDF's current missile range is set at just over a hundred kilometers. The introduction of longer-range gliding missiles to protect the Nansei Islands would make it possible for Japan to respond to China's activities without deploying the Maritime Self-Defense Force's vessels and aircraft.

The Defense Ministry allocated a total of 18.5 billion yen in the fiscal 2018 and 2019 budgets for research on HVGPs for the defense of remote islands, and plans to add another 25 billion yen in the fiscal 2020 budget. However, some legislators in the Diet have pointed out that acquisition of the new capabilities could "make it possible for the SDF to directly attack other countries' territories" and "deviate from Japan's exclusively defense-oriented policy." The development of the new technologies is also feared to threaten Japan's neighbors.

The government has defended the HVGP development, stating, "They are intended for homeland defense and are not considered attacking weapons."

(Japanese original by Yusuke Tanabe, Political News Department)
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[*] posted on 27-2-2020 at 06:41 PM


Lockheed Martin’s hypersonic ARRW set to pass critical design review

By Garrett Reim, Orlando, Florida27 February 2020

Lockheed Martin’s hypersonic Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) is wrapping its critical design review.

ARRW wil officially pass the milestone on 27 February and the US Air Force (USAF) is pleased with the missile’s development progress, says John Varly, vice-president of hypersonics with Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. ARRW development is being led by Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control in Orlando, Florida.


Source: Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin ARRW on carry test aboard B-52 in June 2019
“We just had the Air Force in and they talked to our team and we’re getting encouraging signals, especially on the ARRW programme,” says Varly.

The USAF awarded a $780 million contract to Lockheed Martin 2017 to develop ARRW. It is a so-called boost glide hypersonic system, a vehicle which uses a rocket to accelerate its payload to high speeds, before the payload separates from the rocket and glides unpowered to its destination at hypersonic speeds up to Mach 20.

The USAF has said it wants ARRW is to reach early operational capability by FY2022.

In June 2019, the service conducted a carry test flight of ARRW on a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress aircraft at Edwards AFB in California. The sensor-only version of the ARRW prototype was carried externally on the bomber to gather data, such as drag and vibration impacts on the weapon itself and on the external carriage equipment of the B-52.

Progress on ARRW comes only a few weeks after the USAF cancelled its contract with Lockheed Martin to develop its Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW), another boost-glide hypersonic missile. The HCSW development contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin in 2018 for $928 million.

Lockheed Martin declines to say why the USAF cancelled HCSW, citing classification issues as well as a not-yet-received full debriefing from the service.

“I think the Air Force made a very courageous decision. It came earlier than we thought, but, you know, we’ve got to have the agility as a corporation to meet our customers changing demands,” says Varly.

HCSW employees will be reassigned to other hypersonic missile projects, he says.

Lockheed Martin is participating in the development of several hypersonic missiles, including Tactical Boost Glide (TBG), a joint effort between the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and USAF. The arrowhead shape of the TBG would have a high lift-to-drag ratio, presumably allowing the missile to glide to targets far away.

Learnings from the TBG programme are to be eventually incorporated into ARRW, says Varly. He declines to discuss specifics of the effort.

“The sensitivities on the TBG programme are higher than others and we’ve got to be cautious,” adds Joe Monaghen, communications manager with Missiles and Fire Control.
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[*] posted on 29-2-2020 at 02:33 PM



Why the US Air Force chose hypersonic ARRW over HCSW

By Garrett Reim, Orlando, Florida29 February 2020

The US Air Force’s (USAF) decision to cancel the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW) and proceed with Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) came down to size and shape of the missile, in addition to budgetary pressures and a desire to move toward production faster.

The HCSW programme was cancelled several weeks ago. The ARRW programme passed its critical design review on 27 February.


Source: Lockheed Martin
Notional hypersonic glide vehicle


Still, the HCSW missile was promising, says Will Roper, assistant secretary of the USAF for acquisition, technology and logistics, a the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida.

“I truly, truly hate having to down select between HCSW and ARRW a year early,” he says. “The team of Lockheed Martin and our government team were green, ready to get to flight testing in the next year and so you hate to have to take a programme that can get to flight test and make a decision a year early.”

The USAF awarded a $780 million contract to Lockheed Martin 2017 to develop ARRW. It is a so-called boost-glide hypersonic system; a vehicle which is dropped from an aircraft and then uses a rocket to accelerate its payload to high speeds, before the payload separates from the rocket and glides unpowered to its destination at hypersonic speeds up to Mach 20.

The HCSW, also a boost-glide missile, was funded with a $928 million development contract that was awarded to Lockheed Martin in 2018.

The Pentagon had to decide between the two missiles because the USAF’s FY2021 budget request, which totaled $169 billion, was flat compared to the previous year and several new expensive initiatives are to burn up cash. In particular, the service plans to spend heavily on rebuilding its nuclear armament via the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent programme, its space capabilities via the newly formed Space Force and its networking ability via its Joint All Domain Command and Control effort.

“Those are huge initiatives and they took a lot of the budget. We had to make tough choices, and one of them was down selecting early,” says Roper.

Ultimately, ARRW was chosen over HCSW for several reasons.

The reason that we went with ARRW was not that HCSW was bad, but ARRW is smaller. You can carry twice as many on the B-52,” says Roper. “It’s possible it could go on the F-15, if we don’t experience mass growth, but we haven’t validated that yet. It’s in class to be able to fit on the center line.”

Having ARRW in the Pentagon’s quiver also adds variety to its selection of hypersonic weapons.

“ARRW is a unique design and it’s a more advanced design,” says Roper. “At the department portfolio level, it diversifies the number of flight bodies that are being looked at so you’re not all looking at the same thing.”

Choosing a hypersonic weapon also allows the USAF to focus on quickly producing the missile.

“In both programmes, we have single suppliers,” says Roper. “We would like to get to duel suppliers for both so that we don’t just succeed in flight testing, [but] we move into an industry base that’s capable to produce at scale.”

The service doesn’t aim to produce hypersonic weapons at a massive scale, but instead wants to be able to have an “agile, adaptive industry base that can allow us to do spiral upgrades, [production] lot to lot,” he says.

“We’re really looking at suppliers who can 3-D print components, like leading edges that we think we’ll need to iterate on, so that we’ve got an adaptable agile industry base where we don’t have single points of failure,” says Roper. “By down selecting earlier, we’re able to start bringing on the second supplier.”

The HCSW programme will continue development a little longer, despite being cancelled.

“We will close out [critical design review] for HCSW, so that we tie up that design in case it needs to be started in the future,” says Roper.
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[*] posted on 1-3-2020 at 08:36 PM


Lockheed Martin releases image of its super fast weapon (via Stahl Engineering FB....)


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[*] posted on 3-3-2020 at 04:54 PM


BREAKING: Pentagon to Test-Fly New Hypersonic Glide Body This Year

3/2/2020

By Connie Lee


Turbosquid 3-D illustration

The Defense Department is on track to test a new common hypersonic glide body this year, a senior official said March 2.

Hypersonic weapons are the top research-and-development priority for Pentagon leaders, who hope to counter great power competitors Russia and China. The new missiles are expected to fly faster than Mach 5 and challenge enemy defensive systems with their speed and maneuverability.

Mike White, the Defense Department’s assistant director for hypersonics, said the upcoming test is dubbed “flight experiment 2” and declined to provide specific testing dates.

“We’re still doing flight experiments prior to transitioning to weapon system prototype testing,” he told reporters March 2 at a Pentagon briefing. “There will be discovery … and we don’t want that discovery to be associated with, ‘Oh, we should have had better systems engineering rigor.’ We want the discovery to be associated with the hard problem of hypersonic systems.”

White also did not specify how the glide body will be tested, but noted that officials will examine “the ability of that glide body to be mission-consistent with a future weapon application.” The system falls under the Navy’s conventional prompt strike effort.

Officials have previously noted that four flight tests are slated for 2020, with a total of 40 planned over the next few years.

Several of the services are pursuing a hypersonics capability. The Army is working to develop a new long-range hypersonic weapon system, and the Air Force is pursuing the AGM-183 Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon hypersonic missile, also known as the ARRW or "Arrow."

White noted that the Air Force’s recent announcement to cancel the hypersonic conventional strike weapon program, also known as HCSW or "Hacksaw," in favor of ARRW was a budget-driven decision.

“We need to place our bet now, and then we’ll wrap Hacksaw up, put it on the shelf and be able to pull it off if we need it" later, he said. “But we want to focus our energy on Arrow to make sure that’s successful.”

The Air Force has been leveraging information from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s tactical boost glide program, noted Mark Lewis, the Pentagon's director of defense research and engineering for modernization. Information from DARPA’s effort may also be used by the other services, he said.

“We’ve got really good connectivity now between DARPA and the Air Force to make sure they’re working hand in glove,” he said. “DARPA understands the importance of what they’re doing and how it factors into the Air Force activities.”

Additionally, the Defense Department is examining the hypersonics industrial base to see if it is prepared to produce systems at high quantities, Lewis said.

“There are a lot of moving parts to that,” he said. “We’re obviously in a position now to develop the concepts. We’ve developed the prototypes. But producing at scale is a different proposition.”

Part of this plan includes putting together a university consortium that will bring in “non-traditional players” who can assist in areas such as guidance, navigation and control, and material development, he noted.
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[*] posted on 3-3-2020 at 04:58 PM


Pentagon launches hypersonic industrial base study

By: Aaron Mehta   8 hours ago


A concept of a hypersonic weapon from Dynetics, which will get the first crack at learning to build the hypersonic glide body developed by federally funded Sandia National Laboratories under a U.S. Army contract. (Artist rendering courtesy of Dynetics)

WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense has launched a deep dive study into the industrial base for hypersonic weapons, in order to understand the weak spots in America’s drive towards the high-speed offensive and defensive technology.

Mark Lewis, the department’s director of research and engineering for modernization, told reporters Monday that a new “hypersonic war room” has been set up, led by him and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Kevin Fahey, in order to identify “critical nodes” in the supply chain.

“What is the state of our base, is it positioned to produce at the scales we’re anticipating? [There are] a lot of moving parts to that. We’re obviously in a position now to develop concepts, develop prototypes, but producing at scale is a different proposition,” Lewis said. “It’s production capabilities, manufacturing capabilities, high temperature materials.”

“We want to make sure we’re not just at the tier-1 suppliers, but we’re looking at other suppliers necessary to provide at scale.”

Lewis said to expect an “initial report” from that study group in the next few months, but also said he suspects the work will be “an ongoing activity” that evolves as the hypersonic strategy and development process becomes clearer.

As an example of the kind of thing that needs to be considered, Lewis pointed to questions of how air-breathing hypersonic cruise missiles could requires a supersonic combustion ramjet engine. The department does not currently know for sure it has the materials — or know how — for such a capability within the industrial base.

A series of Pentagon reports in the last two years have raised serious concerns about the defense industrial base, particularly when it comes to high-end materials and design knowledge for missiles. In some cases, the only supplier for critical materials come from China, the exact country the U.S. is investing in hypersonic weapons to counter.

Lewis, who served as the chief scientist for the Air Force from 2004 to 2008, also stressed the importance of building up the workforce, particularly by providing stable hypersonic research funding to universities, where the department is in the early stages of putting together a hypersonics consortium.

“We’re especially interested in leveraging parts of the university community, the nontraditional layers — the folks who haven’t done the basic high-speed fluid mechanics who can bring other capabilities to bear, [like] guidance, navigation and control, material development, systems engineering,” he said. “We think it’s important not only for development concepts but obviously to make the workforce available in industry, as well as in our government laboratories.”

The department requested $3.2 billion for research, development, testing and evaluation funds related to hypersonic weapons in FY21.
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[*] posted on 3-3-2020 at 05:54 PM


Hypersonic Missiles: Plethora Of Boost-Glide & Cruise

"At this point we don't want to see an either/or -- we actually want to see both technologies pursued," Lewis said of DoD's pursuit of hypersonic boost-glide and cruise missile efforts.


By Theresa Hitchens

on March 02, 2020 at 7:26 PM


Lockheed Martin’s Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW)

PENTAGON: Hypersonic missiles will be deployed across the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, not as “niche” weapons but as a broad new capability, according to DoD’s two top officials charged with managing department wide development efforts.

“It’s not going to be one or two hypersonic weapons,” Mark Lewis, director of modernization at DoD’s Research and Engineering office headed by Mike Griffin, told reporters here today. “Hypersonics isn’t a single thing. It’s a range of capabilities. It’s intermediate range. It’s long range. It’s things coming off of ships. It’s things coming off of trucks. It’s things coming off the wings of airplanes and out of bomb bays.”

Lewis said the Pentagon’s focus this year on hypersonic weapons — weapons that can fly faster than Mach 5 — will be on transitioning from science and technology development work to prototype weapons that can be used in the field by all of the services.

Hypersonic weapons, and the technologies to counter them, are one of 11 cross-cutting modernization priorities that Lewis is managing. The Army, Navy, Air Force and DARPA all have at least one, if not more, efforts to build hypersonic missile capabilities. The Missile Defense Agency and the Space Development Agency (both of which fall under Griffin’s oversight) are working on technologies to detect and target enemy hypersonic missiles.

“I don’t know of any other part of the modernization portfolio where I see such close coordination between the services and the agencies,” said Lewis.

For example, DARPA’s Hypersonic Air-Breathing Weapons Concept (HAWC) — an air-breathing cruise missile — is first going transition to the Air Force, said Mike White, Lewis’s assistant director for hypersonics. “But we’re also looking at some other configurations that have a broader range of capabilities.” Indeed, Sydney reported way back in 2018 that DARPA has been hoping to interest the Navy in the concept as well.

White said one of the advantages of the Air Force having canceled its the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW), which was being designed as a boost-glide system rather than a cruise missile, is that the service can now focus on transitioning the HAWC program into an Air Force program of record.

White said that the advantages of an air-breathing cruise missiles are that they are smaller, more affordable and fit on a wider range of platforms. Thus, they can be carried on fifth-generation fighter jets and bombers in large numbers. Finally, he said, it is easier to put a seeker on a cruise missile.

On the other hand, Lewis added, the boost-glide variants have longer ranges. “That’s why at this point we don’t want to see an either/or — we actually want to see both technologies pursued,” he said.

Indeed, DoD also hopes DARPA’s Tactical Boost Glide will find its way into the arsenals of services besides the Air Force, even though the primary transition program is the Air force’s Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon.

“There is DARPA work going on to look at using alternative launch platforms and alternative basing needs for the TBG,” White said.

Lewis said DoD’s hypersonic efforts further include figuring out how to build up an industrial base that can “produce hypersonic capabilities at scale.”

To that end, DoD acquisition czar Ellen Lord has put together a “hypersonic war room” headed by Lewis and her assistant secretary Kevin Fahey that is now in the midst of a study to look at “what is the state of our base, is it positioned to produce at the scales that we are anticipating?” The study also will look at where DoD needs to invest to ensure that the base is ready. That study, Lewis said, should be done within “the next couple of months.”
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[*] posted on 5-3-2020 at 04:37 PM


The Pentagon Wants a Mix of Hypersonic Weapons. Here’s Why


High Speed Strike Weapon (Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin)

4 Mar 2020

Military.com | By Oriana Pawlyk

Boost-glide hypersonic weapons have a longer range. Air-breathing cruise missiles are smaller and configurable for a wider range of platforms, such as bombers or fifth-generation fighters. The Pentagon is looking for a complementary mix of both as it pursues new hypersonic technologies for its arsenal, according to top officials.

"At this point, we don't want to see an either/or; we actually want to see both technologies pursued," said Mark Lewis, the Defense Department's director of defense research and engineering for modernization.

Lewis and Mike White, the assistant director of defense research and engineering for modernization, briefed reporters at the Pentagon on Monday.

The Pentagon wants to develop more "air-breathing hypersonic cruise missile configurations," White said.

As noted by Aviation Week, interest in scramjet propulsion systems -- short for supersonic-combustion ramjet technologies, which use a jet engine that compresses incoming air -- has seen a comeback since 2016, when the Defense Department prioritized boost-glide hypersonic tech instead.

For example, the Air Force recently chose to advance its Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW, pronounced "Arrow") program, which leverages efforts from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's (DARPA) Tactical Boost Glide project. Last month, it canceled its Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon, known as HCSW (pronounced "Hacksaw"), in order to shift resources to ARRW. Both prototypes are designed by Lockheed Martin Corp.

But White said there is now opportunity for the Air Force to work more closely with DARPA on the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept, known as HAWC; the Pentagon could even establish follow-on weapons from discoveries made through the HAWC program, he said.

"One of the side benefits of the Air Force stepping away from HCSW and putting a bow on it at [the critical design review stage] is now they can focus on the air-breathing transition as a second potential hypersonic transition opportunity [to HAWC]," White said.

"We're also looking at some other configurations with a broader range of capabilities," he added, but did not provide additional details on potential weapons prototypes.

The Pentagon has worked steadily to create hypersonic weapons, which move at more than five times the speed of sound and can act as deterrents -- even game changers -- when responding to conflict from hundreds of miles away.

The officials said the services are working closely together on prototyping efforts, especially as the Pentagon is on a mission to upgrade both its offensive and defensive capabilities.

"I don't know of any other part of the modernization portfolio where I see such close coordination between the services and the agencies," Lewis said, noting the Pentagon's quest for multi-domain weapons spanning air, land and sea.

"Hypersonics isn't a single thing. It's a range of capabilities," he said. "It's intermediate-range. It's long-range. It's things coming off of ships. It's things coming off of trucks. It's things coming off the wings of airplanes and out of bomb bays."

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.
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[*] posted on 5-3-2020 at 08:51 PM


JUST IN: Pentagon to Spend Billions Mass-Producing Hypersonic Weapons

3/4/2020

By Jon Harper



The Defense Department plans to spend billions of dollars in the coming years on large-scale production of hypersonic weapons, a senior official said March 4.

The systems are designed to fly faster than Mach 5 and challenge enemy defensive systems with their high speed and maneuverability. They have been a top priority of Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin.

“We're actually to the point where we're beginning to believe that, at least for rocket-boosted hypersonic glide vehicles, we really think we have the technology close to being in hand,” he said at the McAleese & Associates annual conference in Washington, D.C.

To compete with great power competitors China and Russia, the U.S. military will need to field large numbers of them, he said.

“The adversaries are not going to be scared by production levels where we produce one a week,” Griffin said. “I mean that's 500 by the end of the decade. That doesn't scare anybody. Our adversaries are accumulating them by ... hundreds of thousands. So we are making a major investment in production of hypersonic weaponry at scale. I'm not going to quote a number, but I'll just say we're going to be making a major investment of many billions of dollars.”

Aero shells that provide thermal protection for the high-speed platforms will be a key component of the systems, he noted, but the nation is lagging in this area.

“The United States has not been in the business of designing and producing entry vehicle aero shells … in decades,” he said. “We need to get back in that business — and we are — and you will find as budgets roll on over the next year that this is a major investment for us.”

Griffin told members of industry that his remarks should be seen as a strong demand signal from the Pentagon for large quantities of the technology.

Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord has set up a “hypersonics war room” to examine the state of the industrial base and its capability and capacity for mass production of the new weapons, officials noted during a Pentagon press briefing earlier this week.

In addition to rocket-boosted glide vehicles, the Defense Department wants to field air-breathing hypersonics, which could function as high-speed cruise missiles.

“Especially for airborne-launch platforms, that really increases the load-out of the weaponry,” Griffin said. “It's been a long time since we've invested in high-speed, air-breathing technology, so we're renewing that.”

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has an experimental program underway that will include near-term testing, he noted.

“I believe we're going to have a good result there,” Griffin said.

The Pentagon aims to move the systems into production in the later part of this decade, he added.

“I think as we get past 2025, you're going to see a serious demand signal from the DoD for high-speed, air-breathing weaponry,” he predicted.
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[*] posted on 12-3-2020 at 10:28 PM


Japan developing new anti-surface warheads for future hypersonic missiles

Kosuke Takahashi, Tokyo - Jane's Defence Weekly

12 March 2020

Japan is developing two advanced anti-surface warheads that will be fitted onto two hypersonic weapons that are currently also under development, as indicated by several documents obtained by Jane’s from the Ministry of Defense (MoD) in Tokyo.

The MoD’s Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Agency (ATLA) plans to arm these weapons, namely the Hyper Velocity Gliding Projectile (HVGP) and the Hypersonic Cruising Missile (HCM), with the ‘Sea Buster’ tandem-charge warhead and a multiple explosively formed penetrator (MEFP) warhead, according to the documents.

The warheads are designed to “attack warships and military vehicles deployed around/on the small islands and their surrounding sea area” according to one of the documents in a possible reference to Japan’s more remote islands in the East China Sea.

The ‘Sea Buster’ warhead is being specifically developed to target enemy surface vessels, most likely larger warships, according to the documents. It is composed of a main warhead, which carries armour-piercing high-explosive shells and a nose fuze, and a precursor warhead that uses shaped charges.

Artist renderings depicting this warhead targeting large surface vessels have appeared in several ATLA documents and pamphlets obtained by Jane’s . For instance, last year the ATLA published its ‘R&D Vision’, which contained an artist’s rendering of the HCM targeting an enemy aircraft carrier. A text accompanying the image referred to Japan’s development of an advanced highly effective penetration warhead that can damage the deck of an aircraft carrier or be used for “area suppression”.

The MEFP warhead is being designed to engage surface vessels and both stationary and mobile ground targets, with the ATLA saying in one of the documents that one such warhead will be able to release dozens of hypervelocity metal fragments capable of striking several targets.

This image taken from a Japanese MoD report shows an artist's rendering of, among other things, Japan's future HCM targeting an enemy aircraft carrier. (Japanese MoD/Kosuke Takahashi)

(311 of 739 words)
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[*] posted on 14-3-2020 at 02:57 PM


Japan unveils its hypersonic weapons plans

By: Mike Yeo   12 hours ago


This Japanese-language graphic shows the country's two planned hypersonic weapons: (1) the Hypersonic Cruise Missile and (2) the Hyper Velocity Gliding Projectile. (Japan's Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency)

MELBOURNE, Australia — Japan has outlined its research and development road map for its homegrown, standoff hypersonic weapons, confirming that it is seeking an incremental growth in capability and providing more details about the kinds of threats it is targeting with this new class of weapon.

In a Japanese-language document published on the Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency website, the government said two classes of standoff hypersonic systems will be deployed — the Hypersonic Cruise Missile (HCM) and the Hyper Velocity Gliding Projectile (HVGP).

The former will be powered by a scramjet engine and appears similar to a typical missile, albeit one that cruises at a much higher speed while capable of traveling at long ranges.

The HVGP, on the other hand, will feature a solid-fuel rocket engine that will boost its warhead payload to a high altitude before separation, where it will then glide to its target using its altitude to maintain high velocity until impact.

The agency also provided more details regarding warhead payloads, with different warheads planned for both seaborne and land targets. The former will be an armor-piercing warhead designed specifically for penetrating “the deck of the [aircraft] carrier,” while a land-attack version will utilize a high-density, explosively formed projectile, or EFP, for area suppression.

Area suppression effects for the latter will be achieved via the use of multiple EFPs, which are more commonly known as a shaped charge. An EFP is made up of a concave metal hemispherical or cone-shaped liner backed by a high explosive, all in a steel or aluminum casing. When the high explosive is detonated, the metal liner is compressed and squeezed forward, forming a jet whose tip may travel as fast as 6 miles per second.
Japan’s road map also revealed the country is taking an incremental approach with regard to designing the shapes of warheads and developing solid-fuel engine technology, with plans to field early versions of both in the 2024 to 2028 time frame. They are expected to enter service in the early 2030s.

The agency expects both systems to navigate via satellite navigation with an inertial navigation system as backup. Japan is seeking to establish a network of seven satellites to enable continuous positioning for its self-defense forces, which will enable it to provide continuous navigation data without relying on foreign satellites.

Warhead guidance is achieved via either radio-frequency imaging converted from doppler shift data — which the government agency said will be able to identify stealthy naval targets in all weather conditions — or an infrared seeker capable to discriminating specific targets.

Japan has been conducting R&D into various areas related to hypersonic weapons for a number of years, although most of it was to benefit other fields like satellite navigation and solid-fuel rockets.

More work remains, however, in areas like hypersonic guidance systems, warhead and missile-body thermal shielding, and hypersonic propulsion systems in order for Japan to be able to field a viable standoff hypersonic weapons capability.
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[*] posted on 15-3-2020 at 02:13 AM


The PLAN carrier lookalike on the left is a nice touch......



Paddywhackery not included.
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[*] posted on 21-3-2020 at 01:56 PM


U.S. Department of Defense tests hypersonic glide body

Posted On Friday, 20 March 2020 14:31

The U.S. Department of Defense successfully tested a hypersonic glide body in a flight experiment conducted from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii, March 19 at approximately 10:30 p.m. local time (HST). The U.S. Navy and U.S. Army jointly executed the launch of a common hypersonic glide body (C-HGB), which flew at hypersonic speed to a designated impact point.


A common hypersonic glide body (C-HGB) launches from Pacific Missile Range Facility during a Defense Department flight experiment, Kauai, Hawaii, March 19, 2020 (Picture source: U.S. DOD)

Concurrently, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) monitored and gathered tracking data from the flight experiment that will inform its ongoing development of systems designed to defend against adversary hypersonic weapons. Information gathered from this and future experiments will further inform DOD's hypersonic technology development, and this event is a major milestone towards the department's goal of fielding hypersonic warfighting capabilities in the early- to mid-2020s.

''This test builds on the success we had with Flight Experiment 1 in October 2017, in which our C-HGB achieved sustained hypersonic glide at our target distances,'' said Vice Adm. Johnny R. Wolfe, Director, Navy's Strategic Systems Programs, which is the lead designer for the C-HGB. ''In this test, we put additional stresses on the system and it was able to handle them all, due to the phenomenal expertise of our top-notch team of individuals from across government, industry and academia. Today we validated our design and are now ready to move to the next phase towards fielding a hypersonic strike capability.''

Hypersonic weapons, capable of flying at speeds greater than five times the speed of sound (Mach 5), are highly maneuverable and operate at varying altitudes. This provides the warfighter with an ability to strike targets hundreds and even thousands of miles away, in a matter of minutes, to defeat a wide range of high-value targets. Delivering hypersonic weapons is one of the department's highest technical research and engineering priorities.

''This test was a critical step in rapidly delivering operational hypersonic capabilities to our warfighters in support of the National Defense Strategy,'' said U.S. Army LTG L. Neil Thurgood, Director of Hypersonics, Directed Energy, Space and Rapid Acquisition, whose office is leading the Army's Long Range Hypersonic Weapon program and joint C-HGB production. "We successfully executed a mission consistent with how we can apply this capability in the future. The joint team did a tremendous job in executing this test, and we will continue to move aggressively to get prototypes to the field."

The C-HGB – when fully fielded – will comprise the weapon's conventional warhead, guidance system, cabling, and thermal protection shield. The Navy and Army are working closely with industry to develop the C-HGB with Navy as the lead designer, and Army as the lead for production. Each service will use the C-HGB, while developing individual weapon systems and launchers tailored for launch from sea or land.

The similarities in hypersonic weapon design for sea and land variants provide economies of scale for future production as we build the U.S. hypersonics industrial base. "Hypersonic systems deliver transformational warfighting capability," said Mr. Mike White, Assistant Director, Hypersonics, OUSD Research and Engineering (Modernization). "The glide body tested today is now ready for transition to Army and Navy weapon system development efforts and is one of several applications of hypersonic technology underway across the Department. These capabilities help ensure that our warfighters will maintain the battlefield dominance necessary to deter, and if necessary, defeat any future adversary.''

Additionally, MDA is working closely with Army and Navy in sharing data that will inform their development of enhanced capabilities for a layered hypersonic defense to support warfighter need and outpace the adversary threat.
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[*] posted on 21-3-2020 at 05:57 PM


Pentagon’s major hypersonic glide body flight test deemed success

By: Jen Judson   17 hours ago

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon made good on its word that it would test a hypersonic glide body in a flight test this year, launching it from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii, on March 19 at 10:30 p.m. local time.
The test was deemed a success.

The Common-Hypersonic Glide Body, or C-HGB, launched and flew at hypersonic speed to “a designated impact point,” according to a statement issued March 20 by the Department of Defense. The test was a joint effort between the Navy and Army.
Hypersonic weapons are capable of flying faster than the speed of sound — Mach 5 — and can maneuver between varying altitudes and azimuths, making it harder to detect.

The DoD has been jointly developing the C-HGB that will serve as the base of its offensive hypersonic missile. The test marks a major step forward in accomplishing that mission amid mounting criticism that the United States is behind China and Russia in hypersonic weapons development.

The C-HGB will be made up of the weapon’s warhead, guidance system, cabling and thermal protection shield. Each service will use the C-HGB as the base while developing individual weapon systems such as launchers capable of firing the weapons from land or sea.

The Missile Defense Agency monitored the test and gathered tracking data to help inform system development and design of a defensive hypersonic weapon — a ongoing effort within the agency — the statement noted.

Hypersonic weapons development is one of the DoD’s highest development priorities, and it is aiming to field a hypersonic weapon in the early to mid-2020s.

“This test builds on the success we had with Flight Experiment 1 in October 2017, in which our C-HGB achieved sustained hypersonic glide at our target distances,” said Vice Adm. Johnny Wolfe, the Navy’s director of Strategic Systems Programs. His outfit is leading the design of the C-HGB.

“In this test we put additional stresses on the system and it was able to handle them all, due to the phenomenal expertise of our top notch team of individuals from across government, industry and academia,” he said. “Today we validated our design and are now ready to move to the next phase towards fielding a hypersonic strike capability.”

While the Navy has led the C-HGB’s design and development, the Army is leading its production development. There is no hypersonic weapon industrial base in the U.S., so the service is leading the charge with the defense industry to start it from the ground up. Industry has, however, developed warheads, glide bodies and other components.

One of the biggest challenges is the pace at which the services want to test and field a hypersonic offensive capability. The Army wants a mobile land-based capability fielded around 2023. That means the service will likely choose manufacturers to build hypersonic missiles in a year or two.

The Navy wants its ship-launched capability fielded in 2023 followed by a submarine-launched missile in 2024, and the Air Force wants to field its air-launched version in 2022.
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[*] posted on 1-4-2020 at 02:33 PM


US Air Force looks at using small sounding rocket for hypersonic testing

By Garrett Reim

1 April 2020

The US Air Force (USAF) is studying using a suborbital sounding rocket to test materials, sensors and flight controls at hypersonic speeds.

Exos Aerospace Systems and Technologies, maker of the commercial Suborbital Autonomous Rocket with Guidance (SARGE), was granted an $50,000 Small Business Innovation Research phase I contract by the service to examine whether its sounding rocket can be repurposed for hypersonic testing, the company says on 27 March.


Source: Exos Aerospace
Exos Aerospace SARGE launch


The USAF wants to know if a redesigned SARGE can perform hypersonic test flights between Mach six and nine. The service is developing a range of hypersonic missiles and needs cheap and easy ways to test components.

Exos Aerospace’s usual line of work is attempting to use its sounding rockets to shoot experiments into suborbital space on behalf of corporations and educational institutions. The company tries to recover the SARGE vehicle after launch using a GPS-guided parachute system. Reusing rockets, rather than building models from scratch each time, is intended to keep costs down.
So far, the company has struggled to reach suborbital space with several launches not reaching the altitude objective due to issues such as structural failures and guidance problems.

Sounding rockets are small test vehicles, often used by NASA to carry scientific payloads to heights between 158,000ft to more than 800mi above the sea level. The rockets can only put payloads into space for very short periods of time, typically between five minutes to 20 minutes, but are cheap to launch.

Despite issues reaching space, Exos Aerospace is looking to build another version of its sounding rocket for hypersonic testing. In addition to redesigning its SARGE, Exos Aerospace is looking at the feasibility of air launching the sounding rocket from under the wing of a towed glider mothership.

The startup says a glider with a 15.2m (50ft) wingspan could carry SARGE aloft under its wing while it is being towed to 40,000ft in altitude by another aircraft. At that height, the glider is released from the towing aircraft and powered to 50,000 – 55,000ft using an internal rocket engine. Once the powered glider reaches its terminal altitude, the underslung rocket payload is dropped and fired.

“[SARGE] goes M3 plus now [when launched from the ground]. If we change trajectories the current vehicle will do close to M4, so it’s almost reaching that hypersonic realm,” says John M. Quinn, chief operating officer of Exos Aerospace. “The [Small Business Innovation Research] study was basically to make it a lightweight version of what we’ve got now. And from the ground, that puts it at almost M5 based on our preliminary design work. Launching from the air moves it up near M9.”

Thinner air at 50,000ft or more, combined with a lighter rocket, should make hypersonic speeds possible, he says.

The glider mothership that Exos Aerospace is centering its plans around is to be designed and built by Fenix Space, says Quinn. Fenix One, as the first glider would be called, is based on intellectual property licensed from NASA’s Towed Glider Assisted Launch System experiment.

Quinn claims the Italian government’s venture capital fund, Invitalia Ventures, has helped invest $93 million into fund a joint venture between Exos Aerospace and Fenix Space to develop and build a low Earth orbit satellite launcher in Italy based on the towed glider concept. That launcher could also be used to launch hypersonic test vehicles, he says.

In order to develop a prototype hypersonic test vehicle version of SARGE, Exos Aerospace would need a Department of Defense customer lined up, says Quinn. He claims the company could develop the hypersonic test vehicle in about nine months for about $1.5 million.

Exos Aerospace’s study follows a similar US Air Force Research Laboratory effort already underway to air-launch a hypersonic test rocket, the X-60A, from underneath a Gulfstream III business jet. That rocket completed a test firing on the ground in January 2020.
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[*] posted on 9-4-2020 at 03:46 PM


Three obstacles are slowing space sensors for hypersonic threats

Melanie Marlowe

14 hours ago


Concept art from Northrop Grumman shows a potential architecture for defending against hypersonic missiles. (Northrop Grumman)

A space sensor layer represents a central component of both reinvigorated attention in space operations and the reality of renewed great power competition. Unfortunately, the current pace for acquiring it is something less than the speed of relevance. Despite frequent statements of support from the Pentagon, its realization faces architectural, budgetary and institutional impediments.

The emergence of hypersonic missiles is an important feature of renewed strategic competition. Over the past 15 years, Russia and China invested in these new kinds of strike systems, which pose a different kind of threat to U.S forward forces, bases and power projection. Hypersonic glide vehicles and scramjet cruise missiles are designed to circumvent both intercept by missile defenses and detection by satellites that support strategic warning.

The indispensable requirement for contending with hypersonic threats is the ability to see them. Whereas the highly predictable arc of a ballistic missile requires a shorter period to determine its trajectory and impact point, the flight path of a maneuvering hypersonic missile is decidedly unpredictable. Continuous, birth-to-death tracking is therefore necessary to maintain custody of the threat, whether to determine its target, hand off information to interceptors to try to engage it or simply to provide strategic warning so U.S. forces can attempt evasion. Doing so over the horizon demands sensors in space.

The Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor, or HBTSS, program will fill this gap. Its purpose is to track both emerging hypersonic missiles and today’s ballistic missile threats, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles fielded by North Korea. Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in January, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Hyten expressed concern about HBTSS’ relatively slow pace of development, urging that we need to stop “studying the heck out of it” and move more aggressively on testing.

Three obstacles impede faster progress on this program: a plan for the overall architecture, adequate funding and the institution building the sensor payload.

The Pentagon’s preferred approach, pioneered by Dr. Michael Griffin, under secretary of defense for research and engineering, is a proliferated constellation in low-Earth orbit, with more sensors than an adversary would be able to attack or suppress. Resilience is a critical attribute in the face of high-end threats. But LEO alone may not be enough. Hyten suggested that different orbits might be desirable, too, including medium-Earth orbit.

In December 2018, Griffin also acknowledged the desirability of being “as widely distributed over as many choices of orbital regimes as we can effectively use.” But thus far, plans remain exclusive to LEO. This is the right near-term focus, but multiple orbits will be crucial for longer-term success.

The second concern is budgetary. Despite stated enthusiasm for the capability, the Trump administration’s funding requests in both 2019 and 2020 were negligible — just $15 million in 2020 — and it fell to Congress to raise funding to $73 million and $108 million, respectively. The president’s budget request for 2021 dipped again by about 10 percent, to $99.5 million. Future years remain unclear, given the lack of transparency in open budget documents.

A third issue is which institution is best suited to develop the sensor payload. Oddly, the 2020 budget request moved HBTSS from the Missile Defense Agency and gave it to the Space Development Agency, an entity that was still being created at the time of the request. On a bipartisan basis, Congress responded by insisting it remain with MDA.

The National Defense Authorization Act that assigned HBTSS to MDA was signed by President Donald Trump in December 2019. But when the president’s 20201 budget request was submitted just two months later, it contained another effort to transfer it out. At a March 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee, congressional leaders of both political parties grilled Pentagon witnesses about the administration’s attempted move.

The Pentagon would be wise to heed Congress’ bipartisan resolve here. SDA has a great deal to do, including develop the broad architectural plan; figure out how best to transport massive amounts of data across and within the several layers; determine how to effectively configure the design satellite bus for size, weight, power and bandwidth; and then cost-effectively orbit large numbers of satellites.

That is a big enough checklist for a new organization, especially one whose future seems uncertain.

The concern in Congress and elsewhere is that critical mission-specific characteristics might get lost in the shuffle. Public reports and budget documents hint that the mission may be down-scoped, weakening its focus to chiefly hypersonic gliders at the expense of ballistic missile threats already here today — effectively taking the “B” out of HBTSS.

Whatever savings might be had from such a move would likely be eclipsed by expensive investments in other ground-based sensors for ballistic missile defense. Let MDA develop the sensor payload, and let SDA figure out everything else.

Melanie Marlowe is a nonresident senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
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