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THAAD: Reach Out and Touch Ballistic Missiles


Launcher on HEMTT truck
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May 1/23: One-Shot Lockheed Martin won a $180 million modification for the production of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Interceptors and associated one-shot devices to support the US government. The THAAD Interceptors and associated one-shot devices will be procured under fixed-price incentive (firm target) contract line items. THAAD is a United States Army anti-ballistic missile defense system designed to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase, which is the final stage of their flight before they hit their target. The system uses kinetic energy to destroy incoming missiles by colliding with them in mid-air. It consists of a radar unit, a launcher, and interceptor missiles that can be deployed anywhere in the world to provide protection against ballistic missile threats. The work will be performed in Dallas, Texas; Sunnyvale, California; Huntsville, Alabama; Camden, Arkansas; and Troy, Alabama, with an expected completion date of March 1, 2028.



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THAAD: In flight (click to view full) 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 THAAD operations concept (click to view full) An ideal multi-layered anti-ballistic missile system should have both land and naval options, as well as theater-level and point defenses backed by a 3rd tier of longer ranged midcourse-defense missiles (q.v. GBI) and/or space-based weapons that […]

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