Advanced Technology Fact Sheet (PDF*)
The Advanced Technology Program Executive Office develops new system concepts and key components to ensure the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) keeps pace with the continually evolving ballistic missile threat. The advanced technology effort is focused on developing and demonstrating the next generation of technology that will give us the capability to intercept early in the battle space, force less effective deployment of counter-measures, and reduce the number of interceptors required to defeat a raid of in-bound threats.
- Discrimination Technology: System modeling has shown that integrating advanced sensors into the missile defense architecture will allow it to efficiently develop precise 3-dimensional tracks, discriminate the threat, and significantly increase system performance. The Agency is developing and testing these sensors on-board unmanned aerial vehicles already deployed in the field. Additionally, the Agency is exploring two promising, high energy laser candidates, the Diode Pumped Alkali Laser system and the Fiber Combining Laser system using a system of engineering knowledge points to measure progress. In parallel, the Agency will collect high-altitude, low-Mach flight data to validate the benefits of operating a high power laser system in this flight regime for a wide spectrum of ballistic missile defense missions.
- Common Kill Vehicle (CKV) Technology: On March 15 2013 the Agency restructured its Standard Missile-3 Block IIB program. Focused on identifying and maturing advanced technology common to all kill vehicles operating outside the earth’s atmosphere, this effort enhances the performance of existing and future BMDS interceptors while broadening the supplier and vendor base.
- Advanced Concepts and Performance Assessments: The Agency established a “Smart Buyer” approach using model-based engineering tools and techniques. We assess emerging missile defense needs, analyze alternative concepts and technology, ultimately informing requirements, reducing risk and ensuring cost effective mission solutions.
- University Research Programs: The Agency awards contracts to colleges and universities to develop next generation technology for possible implementation into the BMDS. Research is ongoing in many technology areas including minimizing the impact of debris, rapid response architecture optimization, propulsion, electro-optical sensors, and materials characterization.
- Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program: The SBIR program harnesses the innovative talents of our nation's small technology companies for U.S. military and economic strength. The SBIR program funds early-stage Research and Development (R&D) at these companies and is designed to: stimulate technological innovation; increase private sector commercialization of federal R&D; increase small business participation in federally-funded R&D; and foster participation by minority and disadvantaged firms in technological innovation.
- Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program: The STTR program is similar in structure to the SBIR program but funds cooperative R&D projects involving a small business and a research institution (e.g., university, federally-funded R&D center, or nonprofit research institution). The STTR program creates an effective vehicle for moving ideas from our nation's research institutions to the market, where they can benefit both private sector and military customers.
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