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Leaders Debate the Use of Space-Based Sensors to Track Missiles

Derek M. Tourneur, SDA’s director, and Walter S. Chai, space Sensors director, and MDA director, made comments yesterday at the Defense One Tech Summit.The SDA focuses on being in a position to warn and track and is working closely with MDA on its space sensor program for ballistic and hypersonic tracking, he added.

“[MDA] focuses on how the last aspects of the kill chain may be effectively brought closer and remotely involved,” he added. “We’re thus working together to make progress towards an uniform common architecture.”Turner offered several examples of collaborations between SDA and MDA.SDA and its partners in the industry create a high bandwidth, low-latency communication network that is likely to be blocked or intercepted.

This network connects platforms with space Sensors on the sea, air, and land, allowing warfare operators to operate.Another effort to achieve higher speed and efficiency are to use laser communications between satellites. Chai added that both with the SDA and the Space Force, the MDA works closely.The MDA works hard to construct a more efficient and more robust spatial system and make it more cost-effective.

Regarding the HBTSS program of the MDA, he stated that rival, China and Russia, promotes hypersonic arms which, flying low and is extremely maneuverable, may escape the terrestrial radar. This is why Sensors based on space are so crucial.The MDA problem is to monitor ballistic or hypersonic missiles by use of their heat signatures. However, it might be difficult to monitor the heat signature against the climatic backdrop. The second difficulty is to simultaneously track a huge number of approaching missiles.

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