Space and Missile Defense Symposium showcases projects that soar

SMD Symposium
Exhibitors begin setting up for the 2021 Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville.

Exhibitors begin setting up for the 2021 Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Space and Missile Defense Symposium returned to Huntsville, bringing together defense contractors, members of all branches of the military, and civilians alike.

Whether it’s missiles or gliding technology, several projects that soar were showcased at the Von Braun Center.

Here are a few of them:

Blue Halo’s Missile Airframe Simulation Testbed fits a GPS sensor, batteries, parachute, and various types of aircraft trackers into a reusable missile that’s just over 12 inches long after ditching the rocket booster.

BlueHalo Missile Airframe Simulation Testbed MANPADS

Unlike other missiles, BlueHalo (formerly AEgis Technologies) has one that’s all about learning instead of destruction.

Launched from a mobile ground station, the Missile Airframe Simulation Testbed MANPADS accelerates to approximately two times the speed of sound and “targets” the test plane.

The aircraft’s missile warning systems warn the pilot and deploy flares or other methods to avoid or destroy an incoming missile.

Once the test is done, the missile pitches into a vertical climb to use up the remaining fuel.

After the fuel tanks are empty, the rocket is ditched and a parachute opens, bringing the electronics back to the ground.

Using a combination of onboard GPS technology and metal detecting, crews recover the electronics for reuse; the missile can be ready to fly with a new rocket as soon as eight hours later.

The first 20 Common Hypersonic Glide Body is planned to enter service with the Army, Navy, and Missile DefenseThe Common Hypersonic Glide Body will fly at least five times faster than the speed of sound; 20 of them are slated for delivery to the Army, Navy, and Missile Defense Agency by 2023. (Courtesy of Dynetics)

Common Hypersonic Glide Body

Dynetics is also the main company working on a new type of weapon designed to fly at very fast speeds.

The Common Hypersonic Glide Body will fly at least five times faster than the speed of sound; 20 of them are slated for delivery to the Army, Navy, and Missile Defense Agency by 2023.

Dynetics stated more could be manufactured in the future as well, with plans to assemble the bodies at the only such facility in the United States.

Dynetics will work with Sandia National Laboratories to build the body, with General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon assisting with other parts of the development.

The 60-pound Small Glide Munition is launched from a drone or AC-130 gunship and delivers a 36-pound warhead in its main configuration. (Courtesy of Dynetics)

Dynetics Small Glide Munition

The Small Glide Munition is 42 inches long, 4.5 inches in diameter, and has a swing-out wing with a 28-inch wingspan.

Dynetics said it can be carried on a drone or an AC-130 gunship.

The 60-pound munition is launched from a launch tube mounted on the aircraft and glides towards its target, guided by lasers and rear-mounted fins to keep it stable.

In its baseline configuration, it delivers a 36-pound warhead that explodes once it hits the target or at a pre-selected height above the target.

However, Dynetics has designed the munition to be directly attached to the warhead case itself, allowing for the tail, nose, and warhead to be easily swappable on the battlefield.

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