The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has awarded contracts to Northrop Grumman, L3Harris, Raytheon, and Leidos for the second phase of the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) programme.

MDA received 12 proposals for the Phase IIa Prototype Payload Design and Signal-chain Processing Demonstration.

Under the other transaction authority award, Northrop Grumman and the other three firms will demonstrate a prototype payload design for the HBTSS programme.

The payload design is meant for a proposed satellite constellation to provide the US military with the capability to track hypersonic and ballistic missile threats.

The HBTSS Phase IIa will run for a period of 12 months.

Selected companies will demonstrate critical technologies to help track hypersonic missiles from space.

In a press statement, Northrop Grumman stated that it will demonstrate its agile and affordable approach to enable large-scale manufacturing of space-based sensors.

Northrop Grumman Missile Defense Solutions vice-president Kenneth Todorov said: “We are a leading technology company that has for decades been supporting the space and missile defence missions of our government customers.

“HBTSS is an important undertaking that allows us to see advanced threats like hypersonic missiles in ways we haven’t been able to before. If you can see the threats, you can take them out.

“Through the HBTSS programme, we’re leveraging our broad base of talent and technology to develop an affordable and extensible solution for this critical component of our nation’s missile defence system.”

The company said that work under the contract will be performed at different locations within the US.

The latest contract will allow the firm to advance the concepts developed during the first phase of the programme.