THAAD: Reach Out and Touch Ballistic Missiles
April 15/19: THAAD substituting Aegis Ashore in Romania The US will temporarily deploy the THAAD anti-missile protection system in Romania this summer. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense will be used by NATO for its Ballistic Missile Defense systems while the international alliance’s existing Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System goes through several-week-long maintenance and updates. THAAD will support the ongoing Aegis Ashore Romania mission at Naval Support Facility Deveselu as part of the existing US and NATO BMD mission. Once in place, NATO’s Allied Air Command will assume operational control of THAAD for the duration of its mission. The scheduled update to Aegis Ashore Romania is part of regular updates taking place on all US Aegis systems. The THAAD is an anti-ballistic missile defense system designed to shoot down short-, medium-, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase by intercepting with a hit-to-kill approach.
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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