THAAD: Reach Out and Touch Ballistic Missiles
November 27/15: Japanese defence minister Gen Nakatani has raised the possibility of installing the THAAD missile defense system in the country. The system would be installed to protect against any threat that may come potentially from North Korea, who have raised the possibility of testing missiles. Pyongyang announced a no sail zone off the east coast of the peninsula earlier this month between November 11 and December 7. Nakatani’s comments come along with speculation that South Korea and the US have been discussing the installation of THAAD by Seoul during talks over deterrence methods to threats from the North. These rumors have been downplayed by both countries.
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is a long-range, land-based theater defense weapon that acts as the upper tier of a basic 2-tiered defense against ballistic missiles. It’s designed to intercept missiles during late mid-course or final stage flight, flying at high altitudes within and even outside the atmosphere. This allows it to provide broad area coverage against threats to critical assets such as population centers and industrial resources as well as military forces, hence its previous “theater (of operations) high altitude area defense” designation.
This capability makes THAAD different from a Patriot PAC-3 or the future MEADS system, which are point defense options with limited range that are designed to hit a missile or warhead just before impact. The SM-3 Standard missile is a far better comparison, and land-based SM-3 programs will make it a direct THAAD competitor. So far, both programs remain underway.
The THAAD System
The THAAD Program
THAAD: Schedules and Tests
THAAD: Budgets and Exports
Contracts and Key Events
FY 2006 and Earlier
Additional Readings & Sources
Background: THAAD System
Fill in the secure form below to activate your subscription right away (or pick another plan)