MDA asks industry for enabling technologies to enable sea-based missile defense against hypersonic weapons

Oct. 19, 2020
Experts eye layered defense based on a multi-mission terminal-phase interceptor weapon designed to engage and defeat future hypersonic threats.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – U.S. missile-defense experts are reaching out to industry for enabling technologies for future sea-based terminal defenses against hypersonic glide vehicles and other hypersonic missile threats.

Officials of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in Huntsville, Ala., issued a broad agency announcement (HQ0851-20-S-0001) on 29 Sept. to define concepts for the Sea-Based Terminal Future Interceptor.

MDA officials want industry to submit concepts to maintain a layered defense based on a multi-mission terminal-phase interceptor that works together with all other midcourse weapons to engage and defeat future hypersonic threats.

Related: Orolia chosen to provide positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) for hypersonic missile-defense radar

Those responding should describe weapon system concepts, component maturity, missile defense integration approaches, estimated achievable performance, and technologies that require risk reduction.

Companies responding should describe the interceptor concept design, to include details counter-missile munitions hardware configuration, kinematic performance, rocket motor staging, inter-pulse delays, firing doctrine, fire-control methodology, guidance phases, homing sensor operation, and communications.

Companies also should describe all critical component technology maturity levels; a defended area performance assessment; weapon system concept support; terminal homing performance via multi-mode seeker; missile sizing to accommodate several packs in the Navy's shipboard Mk 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS); flexible warhead design with submunition concepts; Use of certified components; missile-to-missile communications ability; structural designs that accommodate maneuverability; and key Aegis Weapon System integration requirements or needs.

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

MDA officials say the expect ultimately to award several contracts that will be worth as much as $5 million each.

Companies interested should email 35-page white papers, submitted at the secret level, no later than 13 Nov. 2020 to Contracting Officer, Jennifer Elkins at [email protected] and to Contract Specialist Majesta Hartley at [email protected].

MDA officials may issue a formal request for proposals based on responses to this solicitation by 13 May 2021.

Email questions or concerns to the MDA's Tony Padgett at [email protected]. More information is online 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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