THAAD: Reach Out and Touch Ballistic Missiles
March 26/20: Interceptors Lockheed Martin won a $832.8 million contract modification to exercise an option for the production of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors and associated one-shot devices to support the US government and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Foreign Military Sales case requirements. The THAAD interceptors and associated one-shot devices will be procured under fixed-price incentive (firm target) contract line items. 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 just outside the atmosphere during their final, or terminal, phase of flight. Work will take place in Texas, California, Alabama and Arkansas. Estimated completion date is April 1, 2026.
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
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