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The First-Ever Hypersonic Missile Interceptor to Be Developed for the U.S. Navy

Raytheon Missiles & Defense, one of the branches of Raytheon Technologies, has always been at the forefront of cutting-edge weapon systems development, and now it will also be known as the manufacturer of the first counter-hypersonic interceptor.
This rendering of the GPI shows that it will be able to operate at sea, on board warships 7 photos
MDA THAAD InterceptorMDA THAAD InterceptorMDA THAAD InterceptorMDA THAAD InterceptorMDA THAAD InterceptorGPI Rendering
Earlier this year, America’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA) was announcing the development of what was considered a game-changing system, known as the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI). Assigned to Lockheed Martin and Aerojet Rocketdyne, this missile defense system was set to become an important asset against intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Now, MDA is adding another element to its complex, layered defense system, and one that is trailblazing – the Glide Phase Interceptor (GPI) will be the first system specifically intended to counteract hypersonic threats.

A renewed interest in hypersonic technology became obvious over the past years, with new developments in aviation, space technology, and defense applications. Only a few months ago, one of the biggest names in the aerospace industry, Rolls-Royce, has inaugurated a Hypersonics Ground Test Center (HGTC) at one of its latest testing facilities, in Indianapolis. High-Mach propulsion systems are seen as one important direction for future aviation and military applications.

But the fast development of weapons that can travel over five times the speed of sound, also means that hypersonic counteraction measures are required. The new GPI, which will be built by Raytheon, will intercept hypersonic missiles in glide phase of flight. This is when the missile is back in the Earth’s atmosphere, speeding toward the target.

According to Raytheon, the GPI’s main assets are its speed, maneuverability, and resistance to extreme heat. It’s described as the first defense system specifically aimed at intercepting the most advanced threats at the moment, which are able to fly at least five times faster than the speed of sound.

The U.S. Navy will be the one to operate the future GPI, which will be integrated on the well-known Aegis weapon system that can be deployed both on land and at sea. Aegis is already a top-level system, featuring a high-powered radar that can perform search, track, and missile guidance tasks at the same time. The GPI will add another powerful capability to the Navy’s cutting-edge defense system.

press release

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