Missile Defense Agency

U.S Department of Defense

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Missle launch

Develop Unprecedented Solutions

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is at the forefront of national security in an incredibly stimulating environment, developing unprecedented solutions to protect our nation's security. Our job is the development of cutting-edge technologies, from advanced sensors and communications, to missile interceptor systems, to propulsion and air-based lasers. Our capabilities-based acquisition process demands a missile defense system that is effective against missile threats of all types and ranges, during all phases of flight.

The basis of the MDA missile defense systems is hit-to-kill technology, or “hitting a bullet with a bullet.” There are many types of missiles in use around the world. Our mission is to develop, test, and field an integrated, layered, ballistic missile defense system (BMDS) to defend the United States, its deployed forces, allies, and friends against all ranges of enemy ballistic missiles in all phases of flight.

BMDS thumbnail The BMDS is layered, using the latest technologies in land-, sea- and space-based radar detection. On its most basic level, your job is to help quickly identify threats, communicate that threat to the appropriate defensive solution, or variety of solutions, and effectively engage the target. All in minimum time, with maximum effectiveness.

And even though the capability has been successfully demonstrated and repeated, you will continue to drive the evolution of these technologies through rigorous real-time testing and evaluation.

How it Works

Once a ballistic missile has been launched, there are four possibilities for intercept during its flight:

  • Boost Phase – The missile is its most visible from the moment of launch until the rocket motors stop accelerating and it coasts into earth orbit. A Boost Phase intercept results in the best outcome, but with only 1-5 minutes to hit the target, launching from close regional proximity is critical.
  • Midcourse Phase – After the rocket booster has shut down, the missile coasts through space for up to 20 minutes. This phase of flight is the most predictable, and provides multiple opportunities for defeating the threat.
  • Terminal Phase – Once it re-enters the atmosphere, the missile completes a very short descent to its target. With only about 30 to 60 seconds to eliminate the threat, the Terminal Phase is the shortest and most challenging missile intercept phase.

A critical component of this layered system is the technology that links the sensory and response components. The Command, Control, Battle Management, and Communications system unites an incredibly complex suite of sensors and weapons systems. And must do so reliably, repeatedly and effectively.

Few technologies are more advanced or stimulating. It is a challenge that utilizes all your capabilities and talents to the utmost, whether they are in science, technology or business.