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.
- THAAD battery consists 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 Nov. 22, 2005 at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
- Completed 13 successful tests, including 11 intercepts, and operationally-realistic tests in March 2009, June 2010, October 2011, October 2012 and September 2013.
- Continuing element development to incrementally improve missile defense capability.
- First two batteries fielded at Fort Bliss, Texas. Total hardware for Batteries #1 & #2 includes six Launchers, two fire control & communications components, two AN/TPY-2 radars, and 48 interceptors. Delivered 50th operational interceptor in 2012.
- Battery #3-#5 completed delivery in 2013, 2014 and 2015, respectively.
- Battery #6 on contract and delivers in 2016.
- Battery #7 on contract in 2014.
- Activated six THAAD batteries in 2008, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
- Received conditional materiel release of two batteries and transition of operations to the Army in February 2012 and urgent materiel release of another two batteries in December 2014.
- New Equipment Training (NET) for Battery #5 began in 2016. NET scheduled to begin for Battery #6 in late 2016.