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Missile Defense Agency

MDA News Release

5700 18th Street, Bldg 245
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-5573

Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor Phase IIb Awards

January 22, 2021

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is pleased to announce award of Other Transaction Agreements (OTA) with L3Harris Technologies, Inc and Northrop Grumman Systems Cooporation for the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) program’s Phase IIb On-orbit Prototype Demonstration. Phase IIb will continue developing the capability to support Warfighter fire-control quality data requirements. This will result in Launch and Early Orbit Testing of HBTSS prototype satellites that demonstrate the sensitivity and fire-control quality of service necessary to support both the emerging hypersonic threat kill chain and dim upper stage ballistic missiles. These agreements were awarded under MDA’s OTA authority and are the only planned awards for Phase IIb.

The combination of high speed, maneuverability, and relatively low altitude of some of the emerging advanced missile threats makes them challenging targets for our current missile defense systems. HBTSS is needed, since we cannot populate the earth and the oceans with terrestrial radars to meet this need. The ‘birth to death’ tracking that HBTSS can provide when integrated with terrestrial sensors will make it possible to maintain custody of missile threats from launch through intercept regardless of location.

MDA is developing HBTSS in collaboration with the U.S. Space Force under the leadership of the Chief of Space Operations and the Space Development Agency. The goal is to implement HBTSS as an element of a unified Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) enterprise solution in order to meet critical Missile Warning/Missile Defense requirements. HBTSS will provide low-latency critical data to the Missile Defense System and support Combatant Command needs associated with advanced threats. Ultimately, this data is critical to enabling engagement by missile defense weapons, including engagement by hypersonic glide-phase weapons.

In Phase I, industry teams developed conceptual end-to-end designs that focused on utilizing mature spacecraft and sensor technology, and in Phase IIa, they held Preliminary Concept Reviews and conducted risk reduction activities to demonstrate the maturity and capability of their designs. Phase IIb will build on the work industry previously completed through design and risk reduction efforts from Phases I and IIa.

HBTSS will deliver a schedule-focused, cost-constrained missile defense capability with sensitivity and quality of service to address advanced threats. MDA will continue to develop HBTSS as a unique OPIR sensor providing fire-control quality tracking data on hypersonic threats and ballistic missile defense threats. The goal is to deploy an operational prototype system that will provide a rapid capability using mature technology and operate as an element within the larger OPIR Enterprise architecture to meet the Warfighter’s evolving requirements.

For questions or comments, please contact Heather Cavaliere at Heather.Cavaliere@mda.mil or 256-503-7802.