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Boeing Wins ‘Glide Breaker’ Hypersonic Missile Interceptor Phase II Deal

The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) has selected Boeing to move to the second phase of the “Glide Breaker” hypersonic missile interceptor program.

The contract, valued at $70.6 million, comes more than a year after the agency requested proposals for a technology to defend against hypersonic threats.

Following the development of a control system that enables the interception of hypersonic targets, the program’s second phase will focus on conducting flight tests to evaluate jet interaction effects on a kill vehicle.

Phase II will also “develop the technical understanding of jet interactions necessary to enable the design of propulsion control systems for a future operational glide-phase interceptor kill vehicle,” according to program manager Major Nathan Greiner.

The majority of the work for the contract will be carried out in Alabama, California, and Missouri.

It is expected to be complete by February 2027.

The Glide Breaker Program

Launched in 2018, the Glide Breaker program aims to counteract high-speed enemy weapons flying through the upper atmosphere.

It will use a kill vehicle to directly take down incoming weapons traveling at speeds of at least Mach 5.

But unlike other anti-missile systems, the Glide Breaker interceptor will take on the more daunting task of striking targets during the glide phase – the longest phase of flight between launch and the “terminal” phase.

Given the speed and maneuverability of hypersonic weapons, DARPA is paying close attention to the interceptor’s speed, altitude, jet interactions, and other dynamics of striking down a hypersonic weapon.

“The objective of the Glide Breaker program is to further the capability of the US to defend against supersonic and the entire class of hypersonic threats,” DARPA said in 2018.

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