Aerojet Rocketdyne to develop missile defense enabling technologies to counter enemy hypersonic threats

Feb. 11, 2020
Aerojet Rocketdyne will develop missile defense enabling technologies to engage enemy maneuvering hypersonic threats in the upper atmosphere.

ARLINGTON, Va. – U.S. military researchers needed a company to develop enabling technologies to counter the growing threat of enemy hypersonic missiles and aircraft. They found their solution from Aerojet Rocketdyne in Huntsville, Ala.

Officials of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., announced a $12.1 million contract to Aerojet Rocketdyne on Monday for the base period of the Glide Breaker program.

Glide Breaker seeks to develop enabling technologies to counter enemy hypersonic vehicles -- or those that can fly faster than five times the speed of sound.

Top U.S. military leaders over the past few years have voiced their alarm about Chinese and Russian projects to develop hypersonic missiles and aircraft. Hypersonic missiles particularly would be useful to attack large U.S. surface warships like aircraft carriers.

Related: Barrier is high for developing enabling technologies for hypersonic weapons and missile defense

The DARPA Glide Breaker project asks Aerojet Rocketdyne to develop an enabling technology critical for an advanced interceptor capable of defeating hypersonic vehicles, DARPA officials say. Key aspects of the project are classified.

This missile defense effort asks Aerojet Rocketdyne for innovative approaches in counter-hypersonics to advance U.S. means to counter hypersonic vehicles. Aerojet Rocketdyne will develop and demonstrate an advanced interceptor able to engage enemy maneuvering hypersonic threats in the upper atmosphere.

The company also will develop requirements, define a design, manage risk, mature enabling technologies, develop requirements, develop a conceptual design, develop software, conduct trade studies, and analyze costs.

Related: Lockheed Martin to develop a ground-launched hypersonic weapon to attack relocatable time-sensitive targets

If the Glide Breaker program makes sufficient progress to warrant prototyping and other advanced development, DARPA may release additional solicitations as early as this year.

On this contract Aerojet Rocketdyne will do the work in Huntsville, Ala.; Sacramento, Healdsburg, and Sunnyvale, Calif.; and Orange, Va., and should be finished by February 2021.

For more information contact Aerojet Rocketdyne online at, or DARPA at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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