Air Force Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), said he has the full support of Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin to advance the development of space-based sensors that would defend the nation from hypersonic attacks by America’s adversaries.
The Pentagon believes funding will be in place next year to begin the constellation of missile-surveillance satellites amid new warnings of hypersonic weapons being tested and deployed Russia and China.
“We will prove the technology before we jump into a major program,” said Greaves.
“We will not repeat AEHF, SBIRS, GPS 3, OCX,” he said, referring to a list of Air Force satellite programs that have cost taxpayers billions of dollars and were years behind schedule.
“We all know what happens when we overpromise and we underdeliver,” Greaves said.
Greaves said the Pentagon wants to construct a sensor layer in space for missile defense, which right now, that is at the top of MDA’s priorities. While there is an urgency to deploy the system because of Russia’s hypersonic threat, he noted that defense agencies should not rush — to make sure all the bases are covered.
“To go fast sometimes you need to go slow early on,” he said. “This is the slow part, doing the requirements, the architecture studies, the modeling and simulation, so by the time you make your decision, industry is ready to ramp up.”
On the modern battlefield, the “vantage point of space” is critical to track hypersonic missiles that Russia and China are developing and currently testing, Greaves insisted. He said the Air Force already has the Space Based Infrared (SBIRS) satellites that detect missile launches from geostationary Earth orbit, which could be blended with a larger constellation of surveillance satellites to track “birth to death” of a hypersonic missile.
“That’s our vision for space sensors,” Greaves said. “Griffin agrees with me. We believe the hypersonic threat is real, it’s not imagination.” The United States in only a few years will have to be prepared, he said. “Space will be a big part of that.”
“Those who have access to the information know that … the capability to deploy hypersonic weapons has been done. It’s real, it’s coming, it’s a matter of time,” Greaves added.
If funding is approved, Greaves said the space-based sensor layer for missile defense could be deployed by 2025. The Pentagon has given the MDA extraordinary authorities to quickly advance defense systems to shield the nation from hypersonic attacks.
Greaves comments come after Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, recently warned the Senate Armed Services Committee that the U.S. is extremely vulnerable to future attack via hypersonic weapons.
Hyten said we are falling behind in the technological know-how to defend the homeland from the threat, as Russia and China advance their hypersonic technologies.
Russia will be capable of fielding a hypersonic glide vehicle, a weapon that no country can defend against, by 2020, which would mean the U.S. would have a gap in hypersonic defense systems for at least a few years.
Hyten suggested the U.S. is powerless against hypersonic weapon threats and has to rely on deterrence against these so-called weapons.
What is that deterrence you might ask?
“So our response would be our deterrent force which would be the triad and the nuclear capabilities that we have to respond to such a threat,” Hyten warned.
In other words, if Russia or China launches a hypersonic missile attack on the U.S., the Pentagon will respond with nuclear war.
Full article: “It’s Real, It’s Coming, It’s A Matter Of Time” – US General Warns Of Hypersonic Attack (ZeroHedge)