Home Americas MDA picks three to develop hypersonic missile interceptors for US destroyers

MDA picks three to develop hypersonic missile interceptors for US destroyers

GPI hypersonic missile interceptor launch
Artist's illustration of a Ticonderoga-class cruiser launching the Glide Phase Interceptor from one of its vertical launch system cells. Photo: Raytheon

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has selected Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon Missiles and Defense to complete an accelerated concept design of the Glide Phase Interceptor (GPI) for MDA’s regional hypersonic missile defense program.

GPI will intercept hypersonic weapons in the glide phase of flight, which occurs once a missile has re-entered Earth’s atmosphere and is maneuvering toward its target.

Any prototypes designed under the other transactional (OT) agreements will fit into the current Aegis ballistic missile defense system employed by the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

The interceptors that will be developed under the project will be fired from the standard vertical launch system (VLS) and will also integrate with the modified Baseline 9 Aegis weapon system to detect, track, control, and engage hypersonic threats in the glide phase of the missile’s flight.

“We are pleased to have these contractors working with us to develop design concepts for the GPI,” said Rear Adm. Tom Druggan, MDA’s Sea-based Weapon Systems program executive. “Multiple awards allow us to execute a risk reduction phase to explore industry concepts and maximize the benefits of a competitive environment to demonstrate the most effective and reliable Glide Phase Interceptor for regional hypersonic defense, as soon as possible.”

The GPI concept fits into the MDA’s missile defense architecture to provide the warfighter and its allies with reliable layered defense against regional hypersonic missile threats from rogue-nations.

The initial development phase of the project will focus on reducing technical risk, rapidly developing technology, and demonstrating the ability to intercept a hypersonic threat.

“Raytheon Technologies systems are the cornerstone of today’s ballistic missile defenses. We’re building on that knowledge to advance the missile defense system for future threats,” said Tay Fitzgerald, Raytheon vice president of Strategic Missile Defense. “GPI’s speed, ability to withstand extreme heat, and maneuverability will make it the first missile designed to engage this advanced threat.”