(Washington, D.C.) Carrier strike groups, mechanized armored columns of ground vehicles and sensitive ground sites can all be destroyed in a matter of several minutes by fast, maneuverable hypersonic weapons traveling at five-times the speed of sound.
Now - the Pentagon wants to stop them with new space sensor layer technology designed to give U.S. commanders a chance to knock hypersonic missiles straight out of the sky.
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency is now entering Phase IIa of an emerging sensor technology specifically engineered to establish a continuous “track” on approaching hypersonic missiles. It’s called Hypersonic Ballistic Missile Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS).
“HBTSS will become a primary part of a hybrid tracking layer within the National Defense Space Architecture, which consists of systems in different orbits that provide the capability to detect and track both conventional ballistic missiles and emerging threats,” Missile Defense Agency spokeswoman Maria Njoku, told Warrior in a statement.
Hypersonic weapons are no longer a somewhat distant future prospect. They are here and fast-evolving toward new levels of lethality. It is well known that the Pentagon has been fast-tracking a range of fast-moving hypersonic weapons programs, many of them now at mature levels of performance. It is also well known and widely discussed that some U.S. rivals, Russia and China in particular, are possibly ahead of the U.S. when it comes to the development and testing of these weapons.
The weapons not only travel at 5-times the speed of sound but also maneuver in flight, at times traveling along the edges of the earth’s atmosphere to descend upon targets with overwhelming destructive speed.