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MDA Sees Need for More Hypersonic Missile Test Ranges

Missile launch

MDA Sees Need for More Hypersonic Missile Test Ranges

The Missile Defense Agency has highlighted the need for additional testing facilities to advance the development of hypersonic weapons during an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Lt. Gen. Heath Collins, the MDA director, a Wash100 awardee and a past Potomac Officers Club speaker, explained that while existing facilities support dozens of launches of other missile programs, they do not meet the needs for testing hypersonics.

The Department of Defense currently has only one test range, located at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, that can support launching hypersonic weapons with speeds of Mach 5 or higher. While such weapons can be tested over the open ocean, the approach makes vehicle recovery difficult and hinders post-launch analysis, DefenseScoop reported.

George Rumford, director of the Pentagon’s Test Resource Management Center, previously told House lawmakers a plan to upgrade the decades-old track at Holloman and build additional testing facilities. The upgrade, however, would disrupt missile testing efforts.

Collins also emphasized funding challenges impacting hypersonic development. He said that the DOD should ensure their hypersonic test programs are funded to avoid cutting trial periods.

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Category: Speaker News