The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act is set to establish a program to develop technologies to intercept hostile ballistic missiles at the boost or initial stage of flight, Defense News reported Monday.
The Missile Defense Agency‘s director will be tasked to begin the program in fiscal year 2019, according to the bill’s final conference report.
The program will use affordable “kinetic” interceptors that can be launched from aircraft and ships and the MDA is allowed to forge partnerships with Japan and South Korea to develop the technology.
The defense secretary, meanwhile, will be given until 2021 to collaborate with a federally funded research and development center on a feasibility study for an initial or demonstrated boost phase capability using kinetic interceptors and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Additionally, Congress intends to obligate $50 million to help the MDA develop laser scaling technology for boost phase interception.