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Pentagon budget 2022: MDA seeks USD247.9 million to counter hypersonic weapons

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has requested USD247.9 million in fiscal year (FY) 2022 to develop defences against hypersonic speed weapons as Russia and China have both claimed advances in the technology.

MDA said that funding would largely be for its Glide Phase Interceptor (GPI) project, towards “developing a layered defensive architecture to address regional hypersonic threats from any source and leveraging sensors for early warning, identification, and tracking of regional and strategic hypersonic threats”.

This includes accelerating “the development of an operational demonstration of a glide phase defense capability against regional hypersonic threats using the Aegis Weapon System”, according to MDA budget dcocuments.

“GPI is the majority” of that USD247.9 million, MDA’s director for operations Michelle Atkinson said in response to questions from Janes. She added that funding also includes engineering and planning for testing targets in the future.

GPI traces its origin to what was previously called the Hypersonic Defense Regional Glide Phase Weapons System (RGPWS), which in turn was meant to advance the former Hypersonic Defense Weapon System.

A broad agency announcement (BAA) released by MDA on 12 April outlined a requirement for GPI prototype concepts with a kinetic energy kill mechanism, and integrated with the Aegis weapon system and Mk 41 vertical launch system (VLS). MDA said this prototype effort would culminate in a flight test from the Pacific Missile Test Range on Kauai, Hawaii.

Aegis already has cueing, launch-on-remote, and engage-on-remote capability, and MDA planners believed GPI could fit well into that construct, Vice Admiral Jon Hill, MDA’s director, told reporters on 28 May.

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