THAAD: Reach Out and Touch Ballistic Missiles
September 28/16: Following a series of protests, head shavings , and eggings , South Korean and US military officials are to announce an alternative site for the controversial deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system this week. Originally destined for the southeastern county of Seongju, three alternative sites neighboring Seongju include a golf course owned by chaebol (conglomerate) Lotte Group in Chojeon-myeon, Mt. Yeomsok in Geumsu-myeon and Mt. Kkachi in Suryun-myeon. The decision to allow THAAD on the Korean peninsula comes amid North Korea’s steaming ahead with ballistic missile and nuclear tests over the last year.
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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