Vice Adm. Jon Hill: MDA Pursues Defensive Hypersonic Interceptor Development Effort

2 mins read
Vice Adm. Jon Hill
Vice Adm. Jon Hill Director MDA

Vice Adm. Jon Hill, director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), said MDA is advancing the development of an interceptor that can defend against hypersonic missile threats, Defense News reported Friday.

“We’ve got some great feedback coming from industry, it is something that can be done, and we shouldn’t be afraid to go do it … and so we’re taking that on,” Hill told the publication at a symposium Thursday.

He said the agency evaluated its ballistic missile defense capability and found that it already had some assets that could help address hypersonic weapons, including the Sea-Based X-Band Terminal and the Aegis ship.

Hill noted that the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor and the SPY-6 radar are some of the future initiatives that are expected to come online. HBTSS is a satellite that could be deployed in low-Earth orbit to detect hypersonic missiles in flight. SPY-6 will further help strengthen the ability to identify hypersonic threats.

He said the agency would focus on targeting hypersonic weapons in the glide flight phase.

MDA asked industry to submit white papers on platforms for a glide phase interceptor in April. Hill said he expects a systems requirements review to occur later this year and that MDA would select industry teams to build the interceptor.

He noted that the agency will initially focus on providing the U.S. Navy with a capability and once the effort becomes successful, “we can move it to the land-based battery to protect other things against that sort of hypersonic threat.” 

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