Reports emerged that China allegedly performed a test of a nuclear-capable hypersonic glide vehicle in August and Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of nonprofit think tank Lexington Institute, said the development presents an opportunity for U.S. companies to develop defenses against hypersonic weapons, the Washington Business Journal reported Monday.
Thompson said the need for missile defense offers a market opportunity for defense hardware contractors and software companies in the Washington, D.C. area.
Some of the D.C.-area contractors that are investing in the development of hypersonic missile tracking and defense capabilities are Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Leidos and Raytheon Technologies.
“There’s only a handful of companies that are qualified to build hypersonic weapons, but there are dozens of companies that potentially could contribute to a defensive system for tracking and intercepting hypersonic weapons,” Thompson said.
“Most of the effort would be in the areas of sensors and software,” he added.
A Congressional Research Service report shows the the Missile Defense Agency requested $247.9 million in fiscal year 2022 funding for hypersonic defense and a budget of $256.2 million for the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor program, a network of satellites and sensors designed to monitor hypersonic threats.
The Space Development Agency has sought $287.1 million in FY 2022 funds for a new category of satellites and related services that would deliver data to the HBTSS, according to the CRS report.