The U.S. Missile Defense Agency is considering using fielded unmanned aerial system (UAS) sensors and developing a lighter kill vehicle. The overall goal is to intercept ballistic missiles early in flight. In its Fiscal 2010 budget, the MDA displayed a renewed focus on early ascent-phase intercept—before a threat reaches apogee—over continued development of midcourse engagement capabilities. Nevertheless, big hurdles loom. “We may track [a threat missile] for part of the flight and ...

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