The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) awarded L3Harris Tehcnologies, Inc. [LHX] a $122 million prototype award Jan. 14 for the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) Phase IIa effort.

Under this award, the company is directed to provide the MDA’s HBTSS an on-orbit prototype demonstration, culminating with a launch and early orbit testing.

Concept art of hypersonic missile defense systems. (Image: Northrop Grumman)
Concept art of hypersonic missile defense systems. (Image: Northrop Grumman)

L3Harris won among four total contracts received by MDA under the HBTSS program.

In 2019, L3Harris, Northrop Grumman [NOC], Leidos [LDOS], and Raytheon Technologies [RTX] each won $20 million prototype awards to provide MDA with prototype payload designs and signal-chain processing risk reduction demonstration work (Defense Daily, Nov. 1, 2019).

Those four finalists were previously selected from 12 total proposals. According to the earlier contract announcements, work on the prototype designs was due last October.

HBTSS aims to be a proliferated space-based missile tracking sensor in Low Earth Orbit to enhance traditional ballistic missiles and better track hypersonic weapons.

This awarded is a Prototype Other Transaction type. The work will occur at Fort Wayne, Ind., and is estimated to be finished by July 2023.

MDA obligated $25 million in fiscal year 2020 research, development, test and evaluation funds at the time of award, which are set to expire by the end of the FY ’21 fiscal year.