THAAD: Reach Out and Touch Ballistic Missiles
October 19/16: Aegis or THAAD? With the expectation that Tokyo will request additional money to fund missile defense upgrades to repel North Korean ballistic missiles, a study will be funded on whether to buy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system or Aegis Ashore. It’s believed that money will also be provided to improve their existing PAC-3 air defense system as well. However, any purchases or modernizations will take time to implement as North Korea continues with its escalation of missile tests.
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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