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THAAD TMD

The Theater High-Altitude Area Defense [THAAD] system would provide extended coverage for a greater diversity and dispersion of forces and the capability to protect population centers. However, the principal additional capability provided by this system is its ability to deal with longer-range theater missile threats as they begin to emerge. THAAD also reduces the number of missiles that the lower-tier systems must engage and provides a shoot-look-shoot capability--the ability to engage incoming missiles more efficiently.

THAAD is the most mature upper-tier system. The Presidentís Budget 1997 schedule for this program had LRIP beginning in fiscal year 2003, with a FUE in fiscal year 2006. However, DOD subsequently added $690 million to this program over the FY 1998 FYDP, which moves the FUE to late fiscal year 2004. This additional funding also: (1) completes the funding for the second Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) radar, (2) decreases schedule and technical risks during EMD, and (3) decreases the total acquisition cost by $457 million.

The THAAD Program was restructured in 1996, although there was a decision to keep the UOES portion of the program on track. DOD planned to be able to deploy an initial limited THAAD UOES capability in the second quarter of FY 1999 should a contingency arise. The final UOES capability would include about 40 missiles and two radars, which will be used for user testing, but which could be maintained in theater if needed.

Recent testing difficulties have led to the slip of this capability from the fourth quarter of FY 1998 to the second quarter of FY 1999. THAAD faces significant system engineering challenge. The fact that recent THAAD flights have not met all their objectives, stretching out testing and delaying the start of EMD by over fifteen months, illustrates the difficulty of this task. Since the seventh THAAD test was not successful, it was necessary to reevaluate the programís schedule and content.

Studies done by the military and independent sources cited the following problems in the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Program: First, the program's compressed flight-test schedule did not allow for adequate ground testing, and officials could not spot problems before flight tests. The schedule also left too little time for preflight testing, postflight analysis, and corrective measures. Second, the requirement that an early prototype system be deployed quickly has diverted attention from the normal interceptor development process and resulted in interceptors that were not equipped with sufficient instruments to provide optimum test data. Third, quality assurance received too little emphasis and resources during component production, resulting in unreliable components. Fourth, the contract to develop the interceptor was a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, which placed all of the financial risk on the government and did not hold the contractor accountable for less than optimum performance.

The restructuring addressed each of these four underlying problems. However, the reliability of current flight-test interceptors remains a concern because most components were produced when the contractor's quality assurance system was inadequate. Test failures caused primarily by manufacturing defects rather than advanced technology problems have prevented the Army from demonstrating that THAAD can reliably intercept targets in all required regions.

The restructuring of the THAAD program raised the issue of what the purpose of the User Operational Evaluation System battalion at Fort Bliss should now be. Whether all or only part of the battalion would warrant deployment for contingency operations would depend on the capabilities it could provide to warfighters and the priority of the need for one or more of those capabilities. However, there would be little basis for making a deployment determination because the Defense Department does not plan to conduct an operational assessment of the User Operational Evaluation System.


THAAD System (92K)

User Operational Evaluation System THAAD Missile Configuration (89K)

THAAD Battery Activation
June 6, 1995 (73K)

THAAD FTV-01,
April 21, 1995 (29K)

THAAD Flight 2,
July 21, 1995 (21K)

THAAD Flight 3,
October 13, 1995 (44K)

THAAD Flight 3,
October 13, 1995 (26K)

THAAD Flight 4,
December 13, 1995 (37K)

THAAD Flight Test
5, March 22, 1996 (31K)

THAAD Divert and Attitude Control Thrusters (42K)

THAAD Launcher in the Field
December 1995 (74K)

THAAD White Sands Deployment
December 1995 (83K)

THAAD Launcher (79K)

THAAD Launcher White Sands (70K)

THAAD Launcher

THAAD Radar (83K)

THAAD Radar Antenna Element and Electronics (61K)

THAAD Launcher

Sources and Resources

Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)
Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is the only core Theater Missile Defense (TMD) system which will be capable of engaging the full spectrum of theater class ballistic missile threats. The THAAD system is comprised of an interceptor and the TMD ground based radar (GBR) surveillance and tracking sensor. The THAAD system will provide a unique capability for wide area defense against ballistic missiles at higher altitudes and longer ranges with a lethal hit-to-kill interceptor. In early 1995, the demonstration/validation flight test program was determined to be compliant with all U.S. treaty obligations, including the ABM Treaty.

  • Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Program Lieutenant General Lester Lyles, Director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Office, Thursday, July 9, 1998 - 2:00 p.m. (EDT) "most of the THAAD system, the overall system, when you consider both the missile, the radar, the battle management command and control, the launcher, most of the system has worked extremely well. The part that's probably the most critical, however, the part that we're very concerned about, is the missile, and that's the one we've had difficulty with. The five intercept failures we've had on the THAAD missile have all been from different failure mechanisms... "

    THAAD Home Page
    The Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) program is an aggressive initiative to field the first endo/exoatmospheric system for defense against Theater Ballistic Missiles (TBM).

    Lockheed-Martin Ballistic Missile Defense News Releases
    These press releases are from the Missiles & Space Public Information Office. The latest release is always on the top of the following list. You can also search them.
    • Lockheed THAAD Team Fires Advanced Interceptor Motor October 14, 1991 -- United Technologies Corp. Chemical Systems Division, a member of a Lockheed Missiles & Space Company (LMSC) contractor team, successfully fired their pre-prototype solid rocket motor for the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.

    • Lockheed, Martin Marietta Team For National Missile Defense Program February 17, 1992 -- Lockheed Missiles & Space Company, Inc. (LMSC) and Martin Marietta Corporation today announced a joint effort to compete for the National Missile Defense System ground based interceptor program, part of the Strategic Defense Initiative.
    • Lockheed Takes Option On Land In Northern Alabama April 24, 1992 -- Lockheed Missiles & Space Company has signed an option to purchase as much as 1,000 acres in the George C. Wallace Industrial Air Park of Courtland, Alabama, for possible construction of a missile processing facility.... A final purchase agreement is contingent upon Lockheed winning a contract to produce the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. The U.S. Army is expected to select a contractor to build the THAAD system this summer. Construction at the Courtland site would begin shortly thereafter and the facility would become operational near the end of 1994.
    • Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Program Profile May 1992 -- Lockheed Missiles & Space Company is the contractor team for the U.S. Army's Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) program, a mobile interceptor that, along with other systems, will provide a layered defense against ballistic missiles for military forces and civilian populations.
    • U.S. Army Picks Lockheed Team To Develop Thaad System September 4, 1992 -- The U.S. Army today selected a contractor team led by Lockheed Missiles & Space Company (LMSC) to develop the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.... The 48-month contract is valued at roughly $688 million and requires the Lockheed team to produce a "deployable demonstrator" system by the mid-1990s.
    • Lockheed Awards Missile Facility Construction Contract November 13, 1992 -- Lockheed Missiles & Space Company has awarded a contract to Mason & Hanger Engineering, Inc., teamed with Universal Construction Company, to design and build a missile processing facility in Courtland, Ala. The facility will be used initially to assemble components of the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.
    • Lockheed Selects Peshkin To Head THAAD Facility March 10, 1993 -- Lockheed Missiles & Space Company has named Richard Peshkin as resident director of a Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile processing facility to be built in Courtland, Ala.
    • Lockheed Expands Huntsville Operations March 11, 1993 -- The expansion will accommodate Lockheed's increased activity in the defensive missile systems business. A May completion date is expected in order to meet the requirements of the U.S. Army's Theater High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD), the first program to utilize the facility.
    • Lockheed Breaks Ground For Defensive Missile System Production Facility April 5, 1993 -- U.S. Congressional members and Lockheed leadership from around the country will gather in rural Northern Alabama April 8 to mark the official groundbreaking of a new Lockheed facility being built to support the company's growing defensive missile systems production business. Named Lockheed Courtland Operations, the facility's first mission will be the assembly of the U.S. Army's Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system missile.
    • THAAD Team Conducts Final Design Review On Schedule November 19, 1993 -- The Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) team successfully conducted a Final Design Review (FDR) on schedule on November 17 and 18 and is on the road to first flight. With this major milestone achieved, the THAAD team, led by Lockheed Missiles & Space Company, will proceed with procuring and building the hardware necessary to begin flight testing in fall 1994.
    • THAAD Booster Passes Critical TestJuly 21, 1994 -- The Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system's booster segment has successfully completed a static test fire. During the mid-June test, two explosive charges were detonated inside the engine's solid fuel core to validate booster design and evaluate THAAD's self-stabilizing rocket motor. The test was conducted by United Technologies Corp., Chemical Systems Division, San Jose, CA, under contract to THAAD prime contractor Lockheed Missiles & Space Company.
    • THAAD Team Conducts Simulated Hot Launch July 29, 1994 -- The Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) program drew one step closer to first flight Wednesday, with the successful Simulated Hot Launch (SHOTL) of a THAAD test vehicle.
    • Lockheed and Mitsubishi to Study Japanese Theater Missile Defense November 21, 1994 -- Lockheed Missiles and Space Company (LMSC) signed a contract with Mitsubishi Corporation last week to work together in support of Japanese theater missile defense (TMD). Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will work with Japan's government and aerospace industry to conduct TMD studies and related activities. Lockheed and Mitsubishi will also examine the possibility of applying the U.S. Army's Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to Japan's needs.
    • Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Program Profile March 1995 -- Lockheed Missiles & Space Company is leading the contractor team for the U.S. Army's Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) program, a mobile interceptor that, along with other systems, will provide a layered defense against ballistic missiles for military forces and civilian populations.
    • Missiles & Space Takes Delivery of First THAAD PLS Launch Platform March 22, 1995 -- The first deployable THAAD (Theater High Altitude Area Defense) palletized load system (PLS) truck and launch platform, built by Oshkosh Truck Company, was accepted Monday by Lockheed Missiles & Space Company's (LMSC) Huntsville, AL, facilities.
    • BMDO, U.S. Army Conduct First THAAD Flight Test The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) and the U.S. Army conducted the first flight of the new theater missile defense interceptor missile at White Sands Missile Range, NM, Friday, April 21 at 9:04 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time. Initial data reviews indicate the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile achieved its intended test objectives.
    • BMDO, U.S. Army Conduct Second THAAD Flight Test August 2, 1995 -- The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, the U.S. Army and Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space conducted the second test flight of a new theater missile defense interceptor at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., on July 31. Initial data reviews indicate the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile achieved a significant portion of the flight test objectives.
    • BMDO, U.S. Army, LMMS Conduct Third THAAD Flight Test October 16, 1995 --The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, the U.S. Army and Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space conducted the third flight test of a new theater missile defense interceptor missile at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., October 13. Initial data reviews indicate the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile achieved its intended test objectives.

    • THAAD MISSILE ROUND SLING SET Basis of Issue Plan
    • THAAD MISSILE ROUND SHIPPING SET Basis of Issue Plan
    • THAAD INTEGRATED BM/C4I TOOL KIT Basis of Issue Plan
    • THAAD INEGRATED LAUNCHER TOOL KIT Basis of Issue Plan
    • THAAD INTEGRATED RADAR ELECTRICAL TOOL KIT Basis of Issue Plan



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