THAAD: Reach Out and Touch Ballistic Missiles
July 24/18: HALO service The Missile Defense Agency is contracting L-3 Communications in support of its Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). The awarded contract modification is valued at $73.2 million and allows the company to procure three used aircraft required to modernize the High-Altitude Observatory (HALO) systems used to collect electro-optic and infrared imagery during tests of the BMDS. The HALO-I system platform is usually a Gulfstream IIB aircraft equipped with multiple sensors viewing through optical windows, used for data collection in the visible through long wave IR (LWIR) spectral regions. Three sensor stations accommodate the Infrared Imaging System (IRIS) primary sensor and a mix of user-defined sensors in the remaining two stations known as Alpha and Beta. HALO-II is also a Gulfstream IIB aircraft with a cupola mounted to the top of the fuselage that allows for open port viewing with a multiband sensor system to collect radiometric and photo documentation data in the visible through LWIR spectral regions. This modification brings the contract ceiling to a maximum amount of $637.3 million. The work will be performed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by L-3 Aeromet. The performance period is from July 2018 to approximately June 2021.
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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