Northrop Grumman’s HBTSS prototype will help US in tracking hypersonic missiles, says GlobalData

Following the news that Northrop Grumman has completed the critical design review of its Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) prototype;

Tushar Mangure, Defence Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“In the early stages of a conflict, hypersonic weapons can be used to take out high value targets such as air defense systems, command and control centers, and supply depots to cripple any offensive capabilities. Among the various technologies required to counter this, the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is aggressively working on developing a HBTSS and Northrop Grumman’s prototype will play a vital role in ensuring US supremacy in the missile defense arena in the coming decades. The HBTSS will be part of a space-based multi-layered satellite network for missile detection and tracking.

“The lead that China and Russia have in hypersonic technologies is of serious concern to the US. While arming the services with a hypersonic weapon is important, the US has factored in the need to defend against these incredible weapons. Considering the speeds at which these weapons travel, trying to detect, track and intercept hypersonic weapons is a difficult task. Such multi-layered space-based sensors are expected to solve those issues, but there’s a long way to go before these weapons can be intercepted.

“The Space Development Agency (SDA) is also developing low-orbiting satellite constellations capable of detecting missile threats beyond the purview of traditional sensors. SDA is working with MDA to integrate the HBTSS into its missile tracking layer. A combination of medium and wide field of view sensors will be critical in tracking hypersonic missiles.”

More Media