One of the most effective frontline defenses for any nation looking to safeguard its citizens from potential security threats is its missile defense systems. The armed forces all over the world are making significant investments in their missile and air defense systems because of the rise in border disputes among various nations.
Moreover, due to technological breakthroughs and the expansion of the world economy, the military forces have also been able to acquire significantly more powerful artillery weapons and advanced missile defense systems.
An advanced missile defense system offers protection against any kind of missile (conventional or nuclear) launched by any nation. A missile defense system is a device capable of detecting and then neutralizing a missile before it can cause any damage.
Significant developments in the field of missile defense systems technology are causing an increase in interest and demand for better air defense systems for a variety of military platforms, including airborne, ground, naval, and space.
The advancements in missile defense systems have also increased military expenditures across the globe, which has led to market growth. According to the BIS Research report, with a military expenditure of $767,780.1 million for FY2021, the U.S. is dominating other nations in terms of military strength.
Additionally, for FY2023, the United States Department of Defense (DoD) has asked for $9.60 billion for the missile defense and deterrence programs.
Along with the U.S., the U.K., France, Italy, Israel, Russia, China, Taiwan, India, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E. are among the leading countries that are utilizing the most advanced missile defense systems to defend their airspace.
According to the BIS Research report, the global advanced missile defense system market was valued at $21.82 billion in 2021, which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 2.18% during the forecast period 2022-2032 and reach $27.05 billion by 2032.
Top Technological Trends Adopted in the Advanced Missile Defense Systems
As the market for missile defense systems is in a progressive phase, adoption and enhancement of the technology are anticipated to increase in the future. This progress is largely dependent on the technology and innovation introduced in the defense systems. Top technological trends being adopted in the most advanced missile defense systems are discussed further in the article.
1. Counter hypersonic weapon system: Due to the quick development of hypersonic weapon technology and the ensuing strategic threats, counter-hypersonic weapon systems have become a necessity. Countries are now carefully considering how to defend against the threat posed by hypersonic weapons.
For instance, the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), an American defense research organization, is engaged in a project called "Counter-Hypersonic." For an improved interceptor to be able to engage in maneuvering hypersonic threats in the upper atmosphere, DARPA is working to develop and demonstrate a technology known as a "glide breaker."
2. Laser-based missile interception system: A system that uses directed energy is known as a high-energy laser (HEL) weapon. The development of HEL weapon prototypes is at an initial stage. The leading defense manufacturing companies such as Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Raytheon Technologies Corporation are working to create prototypes for a real, functional weapon system.
The goal of the development of a laser-based missile interception system is to intercept and eliminate threats posed by missiles, mortars, unmanned aerial vehicles, and other airborne threats.
3. Hypersonic and ballistic tracking space sensor (HBTSS): Hypersonic and ballistic tracking space sensor is a part of the Missile Defence Review (MDR)-2019 studies into space-based sensor systems. It is the product of research that requires the continuous detection, tracking, and discrimination of inbound ballistic and hypersonic missiles.
The HBTSS will be a component of the new missile tracking layer system architecture being developed by the Space Development Agency (SDA), which will include hundreds of satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) that will cooperate in tracking and detecting enemy missiles.
The missile tracking layer of the SDA is made up of a constellation of LEO satellites with a wide-field view of sensors that work together to locate and track targets in the land, sea, air, and space domains.
The missile defense system would receive fire control information from the HBTSS to intercept approaching threats. Tracking and keeping track of hypersonic missiles, such as the Russian Avangard and Chinese Starry Sky-2 hypersonic coast vehicles (HGVs)., requires a combination of broad and medium field views of sensors.
Additionally, the HBTSS would maintain constant track and custody of these HGVs and ballistic missiles while in flight, enabling missile defense systems to stop threat missiles before they reach their target.
4. Space-based sensor layer: The U.S. Missile Defence Agency discussed the potential of space-based sensor layer technology in August 2018. The sensors in orbit can identify and track incoming missiles while they are in mid-flight. To use an intercept missile to stop the approaching missile, they can also send information back to the air defense system. Additionally, they can transmit data to the receiver regardless of whether the approaching missile was stopped
5. Space-based interceptor layer: In FY2020, the United States Department of Defence (DoD) requested $15 million for the new ‘Space Development Agency’ to develop an architecture for a space-based kinetic interceptor layer for boost-phase defense.
Additionally, the U.S. DoD requested $34 million in FY2020 to create and test a model of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) boost phase laser weapon prototype. The scheme is anticipated to cost $380 million over five years.
The U.S. Missile Defence Agency also aims to research the creation and implementation of a space-based missile intercept layer accomplished for boost-phase defense and provide a report to the U.S. Under Secretary of Defence for Research and Engineering, given the notable advantages of space-basing for sensors and possibly interceptors, particularly for boost-phase defense.
Missile defense systems are an integral part of a country’s defense strategy to safeguard the nation from dangerous weapons. Many developed and developing countries have deployed missile defense systems to counter aerial threats.
This widespread adoption of advanced missile defense systems is attributed to two main factors, i.e., the growing defense budget across the globe and technological breakthroughs.