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When it comes to missile defense, it’s all about hitting a missile with another missile and with all the developments in hypersonic vehicles and rockets, shooting down a missile in the current year has never been harder. To answer these hypersonic threats, DARPA has introduced the “Glide Breaker” program.
The Glide Breaker program was first introduced in 2018 in order to develop and demonstrate technologies and innovations capable of defending against hypersonic systems.
In order to intercept a hypersonic missile, one has to develop a hypersonic interceptor. That is why DARPA has recently selected Aerojet Rocketdyne to develop the propulsion system for the Glide Breaker interceptor. C4isrnet.com reports that the company will receive $19.6 million for the contract.
Aerojet has gained experience developing engines for hypersonic vehicles. The company has worked alongside Boeing with the X-51A Waverider hypersonic demonstrator. Similarly, last December, the company was chosen by Lockheed Martin to produce the motor for Lockheed’s hypersonic missile.
The Glide Breaker program has to prove that intercepting hypersonic threats is possible. Successful trials have been difficult to achieve and have only occurred under ideal conditions.
Hypersonic missiles are also capable of maneuvering mid flight, so that interception is even more difficult. Some missiles are also capable of releasing decoys in order to confuse the interceptor.
So in order to develop an effective interceptor, you’ll need at the very least a hypersonic interceptor that is smart enough to ignore decoys and agile enough to follow the threat’s mid flight maneuvers.
The Glide Breaker program is yet to prove its effectiveness, however with enough perseverance, hypersonic interception capabilities will become a crucial part of national defense.