DARPA Issues Presolicitation Notice for Glide Breaker Program to Develop Hypersonic Vehicle Interceptor

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has issued a presolicitation notice for the Glide Breaker program which seeks to develop an interceptor capable of defeating hypersonic vehicles.

Glide Breaker intends to advance the United States’ means to counter hypersonic vehicles. This notice solicited proposals to develop and demonstrate a technology that is critical for enabling an advanced interceptor capable of engaging maneuvering hypersonic threats in the upper atmosphere, according to the Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) released by DARPA. Key aspects of the Glide Breaker program are classified.

The BAA said that a single award is anticipated, but added that multiple awards are possible.

DARPA had unveiled a concept art of the interceptor portion of Glide Breaker for the first time at its D60 Symposium, in Sept. 2018. The image showed a hard-kill interceptor engaging with an enemy hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV).

DARPA Glide Breaker Concept
Rendering of DARPA Glide Breaker hard-kill interceptor engaging with an enemy hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV). DARPA Photo.

Both China and Russia are currently developing advanced hypersonic glider technology. Last year, China conducted flight-test of a new series of ballistic missile, named DF-17, with a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV). In August this year, China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA) has conducted a test launch of its Sky Star-2 waverider hypersonic flight vehicle at the northwest test range.

Russia has recently unveiled the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal (Dagger), an air-launched version of the Iskander quasi-ballistic missile, and Avangard (also called Objekt 4202, Yu-71 and Yu-74) hypersonic glide vehicle.

The Kinzhal missiles are carried by the MiG-31K supersonic interceptor aircraft, while the Avangard glide vehicle can be carried as an MIRV (Multiple Independently-targetable Reentry Vehicle) payload by UR-100UTTKh (SS-19 Stiletto), RS-26 Rubezh (SS-X-31) and RS-28 Sarmat (SS-X-30) super-heavy intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and can deliver both nuclear and conventional warheads.

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