THAAD: Reach Out and Touch Ballistic Missiles
June 3/20: PAC-3? JoongAng Ilbo has found out that the recent equipment upgrades at the THAAD site in Seongju, South Korea was to allow its AN/TPY-2 radar to guide PAC-3 interceptors launched remotely. The South Korean government had said the upgrading exercise was merely to replace old THAAD missiles with new ones. With the upgrade, 100 Patriot launchers in South Korea can be directed by the THAAD’s radar. It was reported a few days ago that the United States Forces Korea have shipped a new batch of THAAD interceptors to the site at Seongju on May 28. These missiles are of the same type as existing ones which require replacement as the internal components are expiring soon. The operation took nearly one day and ended on Friday. Usually, parts were flown in but this time, the equipment were too heavy to be airlifted. The THAAD site in South Korea has six launchers with eight interceptors each.
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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