Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) element provides the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) with a globally transportable, rapidly deployable capability to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles inside or outside the atmosphere during their final, or terminal, phase of flight.
- Land-based element capable of shooting down a ballistic missile both inside and just outside the atmosphere.
- Highly effective against the asymmetric ballistic missile threats.
- Uses hit-to-kill technology whereby kinetic energy destroys the incoming warhead.
- The high-altitude intercept mitigates effects of enemy weapons of mass destruction before they reach the ground.
- A THAAD Battery consist of four main components:
Launcher: Truck mounted, highly mobile, able to be stored; interceptors can be fired and rapidly reloaded.
Interceptors: Eight per launcher.
Radar: Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance (AN/TPY-2) – Largest air-transportable X-band Radar in the world searches, tracks, and discriminates objects and provides updated tracking data to the interceptor.
Fire Control: Communication and data-management backbone; links THAAD components together; links THAAD to external Command and Control nodes and to the entire BMDS; plans and executes intercept solutions.
- Rapidly deployable by being globally transportable via air, land and sea.
- State-of-the-art engineering ensures high standards and efficient production and maintenance.
- Comprehensive program of ground and flight tests, quality assurance, and design and development activities support mission success.
Major events in the THAAD program:
Returned to flight test on November 22, 2005 at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico;
Completed 11 successful tests, including nine intercepts, and operationally-realistic tests in March 2009, June 2010 and October 2011;
Continuing element development to incrementally improve missile defense capability.
- First two Batteries fielded at Fort Bliss, Texas. Total hardware for Battery #1 & #2 include six Launchers, two Fire Control & Communications components, two AN/TPY-2 Radars, and 48 Interceptors. Delivered 50th operational interceptor in June 2012.
- Batteries #3 and #4 on contract March 2011 with delivery and fielding to start in 2013.
- Activated first THAAD Battery in May 2008 and second THAAD Battery in October 2009.
- Received Conditional Materiel Release of two Batteries and transition of operations to the Army in February 2012.