US Missile Defense Agency seeks controls for high G maneuvers for hypersonic interceptors

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) will research aerodynamic controls capable of high G maneuvers for hypersonic interceptors. This could also be applied for maneuvers for hypersonic weapons.

Concepts should focus on maximizing maneuverability and minimizing kinetic energy losses to the greatest extent possible while allowing controlled flight in a hypersonic environment. Studies may include various geometries, materials, positioning for control surfaces, or other innovative concepts. Proposers may assume vehicles are simple conical shapes or shapes with greater lift-drag ratios. Proposers may also assume a range of velocities above Mach 5 and a range of altitudes up to 50 kilometers. Solutions could have applicability to small interceptors, such as projectiles shorter than one meter or larger interceptors, such as missiles over 5 meters long. The government has invested extensively in technologies for cruciform divert systems, but those technologies are not desired for this Broad Agency Announcement.

MDA has requested $120.4 million in FY2019 for defense against hypersonic weapons.

Current interceptors are not designed to defend against maneuverable hypersonic missiles, and that MDA wants to optimize interceptors as anti-hypersonic weapons.

DARPA is also seeking anti-hypersonic weapon technology with its Glide Breaker project.

The objective of the Glide Breaker program is to further the capability of the United States to defend against supersonic and the entire class of hypersonic threats. Of particular interest are component technologies that radically reduce risk for development and integration of an operational, hard-kill system. A key figure of merit is deterrence: the ability to create large uncertainty for the adversary’s projected probability of mission success and effective raid size.

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