Tweaks to the Standard Missile-3 and Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense interceptors, as well as air-launched weapons already in the U.S. arsenal, could show promise for the Missile Defense Agency’s hopes to field ascent-phase missile defenses. The ascent phase has become the centerpiece of MDA’s decades-long pursuit of developing systems to counter ballistic missile attacks. The agency’s ambitions are colliding with the reality of a soured economic climate in the U.S. and a shift in ...

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