Terminal High Altitude Area Defense

Terminal High Altitude Area Defense

Infobox Weapon
name= Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)

caption= THAAD missile launcher
origin= USA
type= Anti-ballistic missile system
service= 2008-present
used_by= USA
design_date= 1987
manufacturer= Lockheed Martin
production_date= 2008-present
number= 24 Interceptors (First Deployment)

Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), formerly Theater High Altitude Area Defense, is a United States Army project to develop a system to shoot down short- and medium-range ballistic missiles using a hit-to-kill approach. The missile carries no warhead but relies on the kinetic energy of the impact. THAAD was designed to hit Scuds and similar weapons, but also has a limited capability against ICBMs.

The THAAD system is being designed, built, and integrated by Lockheed Martin Space Systems acting as prime contractor. Key subcontractors include Raytheon, Boeing, Aerojet, Rocketdyne, Honeywell, BAE Systems, and MiltonCAT. Development was budgeted at over USD$700 million for 2004, and full deployment is expected to cost tens of billions of dollarsFact|date=September 2008.

Although originally a U.S. Army program, THAAD has come under the umbrella of the Missile Defense Agency. The Navy has a similar program, the sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. THAAD was originally scheduled for deployment in 2012, but deployment has recently been accelerated to 2009. [ [http://www.space.com/spacenews/archive06/thaad_0904.html "Pentagon To Accelerate THAAD Deployment"] , Jeremy Singer, "Space News", September 4 2006]


The THAAD missile defense concept was proposed in 1987, with a formal request for proposals submitted to industry in 1990. In September 1992, the U.S. Army selected Lockheed Martin as prime contractor for THAAD development. Prior to development of a physical prototype, the Aero-Optical Effect (AOE) software code to validate the intended operational profile of Lockheed's proposed design. The first THAAD flight test occurred in April 1995, with all flight tests in the program phase DEM-VAL (Demonstration-Validation) occurring at White Sands Missile Range. The first six intercept attempts missed the target (Flights 4-9). The first successful intercepts were conducted on June 10, 1999, and August 2, 1999, against Hera missiles.

Demonstration-Validation Phase

Engineering and Manufacturing Phase

In June 2000, Lockheed won the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract to turn the design into a mobile tactical army fire unit. Flight tests of this system resumed with missile characterization and full-up system tests in 2006 at White Sands Missile Range, then moved to the Pacific Missile Range Facility.

Production and Deployment

Sometimes called Kinetic Kill technology, the THAAD missile destroys missiles by colliding with them, using hit-to-kill technology, like the MIM-104 Patriot PAC-3 (although the PAC-3 also contains a small explosive warhead). This is unlike the Patriot PAC-2 which carried only an explosive warhead detonated using a proximity fuse. THAAD missiles have an estimated range of 125 miles (200 km), and can reach an altitude of 93 miles (150 km). The THAAD missile is manufactured at the Lockheed Martin Pike County Operations facility near Troy, Alabama. The facility performs final integration, assembly and testing of the THAAD missile.

The THAAD Radar is an X-Band Radar developed and built by Raytheon at its Andover, Massachusetts Integrated Air Defense Facility. It is the world's largest ground/air-transportable X-Band radar. The THAAD Radar and a variant developed as a forward sensor for ICBM missile defense, the "Forward-Based X-Band - Transportable (FBX-T)" radar were assigned a common designator, AN/TPY-2, in late 2006/early 2007.

First Line Unit Activated at Fort Bliss

On 28 May 2008, the U.S. Army activated Alpha Battery/4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. The Unit is part of the 32nd Army Air & Missile Defense Command. It will have 24 THAAD interceptors, three THAAD launchers, a THAAD Fire Control and a THAAD radar. Full fielding will begin in 2009. [ [http://newsblaze.com/story/2008052812130400003.pnw/newsblaze/HIGHTECH/High-Tech.html "First Battery of THAAD Weapon System Activated at Fort Bliss"] , Lockheed Martin, "newsblaze.", May 28 2008] [ [http://www.lockheedmartin.com/news/press_releases/2008/MFC_052808FirstBatteryTHAADWeaponSystem.html "First Battery of THAAD Weapon System Activated at Fort Bliss"] , Press Release , "Lockheed Martin Official Website", May 28 2008]

Possible International Buyers

The United Arab Emirates has requested the purchase of a new U.S. missile defense system developed by Lockheed Martin Corp, a deal that could be worth $7 billion, if approved. [ [http://uk.reuters.com/article/wtMostRead/idUKN2836779620080528 "UAE seeks $7 bln Lockheed weapon system"] , Andrea Shalal-Esa, "Reuters UK", May 29 2008]

See also

* Arrow missile


External links

* [http://www.defenselink.mil/specials/missiledefense/tmd-thaad.html Details of the project]
* [http://www.army-technology.com/projects/thaad/ Army Project Page]
* [http://www.mda.mil/mdalink/html/thaad1.html MDA Project Page]
* [http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/app4/thaad.html Program History]
* [http://www.army-technology.com/projects/thaad/ THAAD Missile description on www.army-technology.com]

DEM-VAL Test Program

* [http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/1999/b06101999_bt287-99.html THAAD First Successful Intercept, June 10th 1999]
* [http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Aug1999/b08021999_bt358-99.html THAAD Second Successful Intercept, August 2nd 1999]

EMD Test Program

* [http://www.mda.mil/mdalink/pdf/05news0011.pdf Successful THAAD Interceptor Launch Achieved, 22 November 2005]
* [http://www.mda.mil/mdalink/pdf/06news0017.pdf Successful THAAD Integrated System Flight Test, 11 May 2006]
* [http://www.mda.mil/mdalink/pdf/06news0019.pdf Successful THAAD Intercept Flight, 12 July 2006]
* [http://www.mda.mil/mdaLink/pdf/06fyi0085.pdf THAAD Equipment Arrives in Hawaii, October 18, 2006]
* [http://www.mda.mil/mdaLink/pdf/07news0023.pdf Successful THAAD "High Endo-Atmospheric" Intercept Test, January 27, 2007]
* [http://www.mda.mil/mdaLink/pdf/07news0026.pdf Successful THAAD Radar Target Tracking Test, March 8, 2007]
* [http://www.mda.mil/mdaLink/pdf/07news0029.pdf Successful THAAD "Mid Endo-Atmopsheric" Intercept, April 6, 2007]
* [http://www.mda.mil/mdaLink/pdf/07news0037.pdf THAAD Radar Supports Successful Aegis BMD Intercept, June 22, 2007]
* [http://www.mda.mil/mdaLink/pdf/07news0038.pdf Successful THAAD Interceptor Low-Altitude "Fly-Out" Test, June 27, 2007]

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