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Space-based Missile Warning and Defense

The Emerging Threat

As global threats increase, so have our adversaries’ missile capabilities. A new generation of missiles has taken center stage: hypersonic glide vehicles. These weapons are not only faster and more maneuverable than traditional ballistic missiles but are incredibly difficult to track. Because of the faint heat signature and unpredictable flight trajectory of hypersonic missiles, the only way to identify and track them is with advanced satellite technology.

To stay ahead of this emerging threat, the U.S. military is building a robust constellation of missile warning and defense satellites in both geosynchronous orbit (GEO), highly elliptical orbit (HEO), medium-Earth orbit (MEO), and low-Earth orbit (LEO). Together, this multilayer architecture can quickly detect, accurately track and precisely target threats — most notably hypersonic vehicles that elude other capabilities. 

Preemptive Innovation

L3Harris has an extensive 60-year history designing, building and testing infrared instruments in both GEO and LEO. With this expertise, L3Harris is adding vital tools to the U.S. military’s multilayered approach to eliminate danger wherever it appears.

To advance missile warning and defense, L3Harris’ solutions provide immediate and continuous global coverage of threats with highly sensitive instruments to find both dim and bright targets. Equipped with real-time onboard processing, our technology can follow hypersonics at different geometries and atmospheric conditions.

L3Harris’ mission-defining technology is playing a critical role on several missile warning and defense satellite programs, including

  • Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA)
  • Tracking Layer for the Space Development Agency (SDA) missile-tracking program
  • Wide Field of View (WFOV) for the U.S. Space Force’s missile warning satellite

By leveraging proven capabilities like infrared imaging, real-time detection algorithms and common interfaces and payloads, L3Harris is rapidly addressing their mission partners’ most critical challenges, quickly and affordably.

With open design architectures, L3Harris can rapidly and affordably evolve capabilities to keep pace with evolving threats and missions.

Responsive, Rapid and Resilient Solutions

Threats to space-based missile warning and defense assets are growing by the day. In addition to rogue satellites and space debris, directed physical attacks and cyberattacks highlight the emerging risks the U.S. military must be prepared to combat.

L3Harris is redefining how to develop and deploy missile warning and defense satellites with responsive, resilient and affordable end-to-end solutions to quickly proliferate constellations and address threats.

By leveraging proven capabilities like infrared imaging, real-time detection algorithms and common interfaces and payloads, L3Harris is rapidly addressing their mission partners’ most critical challenges, quickly and affordably.

We have proven on-orbit technology:

  • Proven ability to launch reconfigurable, multimission software-defined payloads at scale
  • Record of cost-effectively meeting right-sized performance requirements and balance life-cycle costs across an entire smallsat constellation architecture
  • Years of experience delivering essential payloads in multiple orbits to U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)

Missile Warning and Defense Downloads

  • Space-Based Missile Warning and Defense Sell Sheet Cover
    Space-Based Missile Warning and Defense Sell Sheet
  • Supporting Warfighters from Adversary Threats
    Supporting Warfighters from Adversary Threats Infographic

Missile Warning and Defense News

L3Harris Secures $700 Million Advanced Missile Tracking Space Development Agency Program

Press release | 07. 18. 2022

L3Harris Secures $700 Million Advanced Missile Tracking Space Development Agency Program

L3Harris Technologies has been awarded a contract to build the Space Development Agency’s (SDA) Tranche 1 Tracking Layer satellite program to serve as “eyes in the sky” detecting, identifying and tracking advanced missile threats. The contract has a potential total value of $700 million.

L3Harris Secures $700 Million Advanced Missile Tracking Space Development Agency Program

Press release | 07. 18. 2022

L3Harris Secures $700 Million Advanced Missile Tracking Space Development Agency Program

Missile warning and missile defense

Editorial | 04. 20. 2022

Addressing an Accelerating Threat Environment: Missile Warning and Defense

L3Harris completes the final major design milestone on the U.S. MDA's HBTSS program.

Press release | 12. 20. 2021

L3Harris Completes Final US Missile Defense Agency Satellite Design Milestone

L3Harris completes final design review for SDA's missile-tracking program.

Press release | 12. 02. 2021

Space Development Agency Approves L3Harris’ Missile-Tracking Satellite Design

L3Harris Missile Defense Capabilities

Editorial | 09. 14. 2021

Strengthening Space-Based Missile Defense Capabilities Compels Expansion

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