Raytheon Missiles & Defense has concluded the system requirements review for its glide phase interceptor (GPI) prototype.
The development supports the US and its allies with a “regional layer of defense against hypersonic missile threats.”
Raytheon’s interceptor prototype is designed to engage evolving hypersonic weapons in the glide phase of flight.
The milestone builds on Raytheon’s expertise in constructing ship-launched missile systems and its ability to innovate hypersonic missile technologies, according to the firm.
Raytheon is expected to proceed to the preliminary design phase after its completion of the review.
“The Raytheon Missiles & Defense GPI concept employs a low-risk solution that uses proven Standard Missile technology already deployed on Aegis ships, while advancing critical technologies needed in the hypersonic environment,” Raytheon Strategic Missile Defense President Tay Fitzgerald said.
“We have a firm understanding of the requirements, and we’re ready to continue GPI development. This is a major step toward delivering this capability to the warfighter.”
US Glide Phase Interceptor Development
In 2018, the US Department of Defense proposed ways to accelerate efforts for hypersonic weapons development to defend against existing and future threats.
“In the last year (2017), China has tested more hypersonics weapons than we have in a decade. We’ve got to fix that.” former US Defense Undersecretary for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin explained. “Hypersonics is a game changer.”
In 2021, the US Army received the country’s first prototype hypersonic ground equipment. The US Navy launched live-fire tests of the solid rocket engines the same year.
“From a blank piece of paper in March 2019, we – along with our industry partners and joint services – delivered this hardware in just over two years. Now, Soldiers can begin training,” DARPA Hypersonics Director Lt. Gen. L.Neil Thurgood said.
“This test continues to build momentum to deliver hypersonics capability for our warfighters in support of the National Defense Strategy,” he explained during the rocket motor fielding.
In the last quarter of 2021, the US Missile Defense Agency selected Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin to research and develop a new GPI system.
Each company secured separate contracts for a total amount of $60 million.