US brass wants space based sensor but also upgrading of existing systems

US military officials continue to call for a space-based sensor layer capable of detecting and tracking ballistic or hypersonic missiles, but they also hope existing signal and surveillance systems aren’t neglected.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Air Force Gens. John Hyten, head of U.S. Strategic Command, and Terrence O’Shaughnessy, head of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, said the Navy’s sea radars will be needed to thwart missiles headed for the United States.

“We need to go and invest ourselves and our ability to have, first, the domain awareness,” O’Shaughnessy said. “Right now, we need to invest in the IUSS. IUSS, which is our Integrated Undersea Surveillance System, which is atrophied as it relates to the continental U.S. and our ability to defend there.”

The technology dates back to the 1950s, when it was used to track submarines and collect “acoustic and hydrographic information” for antisubmarine warfare, according to the Navy. It was included in later technology, including the Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS), parts of which are slated to receive upgrades.