Air and Missile Defense

Mission Area

Air and Missile Defense

Revolutionizing the Art of Defense

Johns Hopkins APL’s Air and Missile Defense Mission Area creates advanced technologies and capabilities to protect U.S. and allied fleets and deployed forces from air and missile attack. 

Performing this vital mission in an increasingly complex environment, we address new and emerging threats posed by advanced long-range ballistic and cruise missiles. We devise, develop, engineer, test, and evaluate solutions that address today’s—and tomorrow’s—air and missile defense needs, and we apply our expertise to make current systems more effective, adapt technologies for new missions, and develop novel technologies for future use.


  • Radar screen (Credit: Bigstock)

    Testing Air and Missile Defense Radar

    APL teamed with industry and the Above Water Sensors Directorate of Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems on two successful tests of the AN/SPY-6(V), a wideband digital beam-forming sensor known as the Air and Missile Defense Radar.
    Learn more about Testing Air and Missile Defense Radar
  • September 18, 2013: An SM-3 Block 1B interceptor is launched from the USS Lake Erie during an MDA test and successfully intercepted a complex short-range ballistic missile target off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii. (Credit: MDA)

    Test Target Prototyping

    A cross-APL team of engineers, working with the Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) Target and Countermeasures Directorate and other government and industry partners, develops cost-effective solutions for MDA to support live-fire testing of interceptors, sensors, and fire control systems.
    Learn more about Test Target Prototyping
  • APL FSO operators check the monitors on Sea Hunter as a third operator monitors operations.

    Optical Communications at Sea

    We successfully demonstrated a high-bandwidth free-space optical (FSO) communications system between two moving ships, proving operational utility of FSO technology in the maritime environment.
    Learn more about Optical Communications at Sea

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