Northrop-Grumman develops missile to intercept hypersonic weapons

DARPA, the Pentagon's R&D agency, has selected the aircraft manufacturer Northrop Grumman a few days ago to carry out the phase of studies and technological demonstration of its concept of defense against hypersonic threats Glide Breaker. Launched in 2018, Glide Breaker is part of a broader defense effort against hypersonic missiles. This section in particular is primarily concerned with the destruction of Hypersonic Glide Vehicles (English), such as the missile Russian avangard or DF-17 Chinese.

The HGVs developed in recent years have revolutionized strategic warfare by replacing the old inert loads of ballistic missiles. Hypersonic gliders are initially powered by a conventional rocket, like the re-entry vehicles encountered on ballistic missiles. Unlike the latter, however, HGVs do not have predictable or ballistic flight behavior. On the contrary, their shape and their guidance system allows them to rebound on the upper layers of the atmosphere and even to evolve freely there, to a certain extent. This results in unpredictable behavior for traditional defense systems, which have so far aimed to place a kinetic interceptor on the path calculated in advance of nuclear warheads.

The Russian Avangard missile can launch a hypersonic glider capable of countering most of NATO's anti-missile systems.

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