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THAAD Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense

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THAAD Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense




The THAAD terminal (formerly theatre) high-altitude area defence missile system is an easily transportable defensive weapon system to protect against hostile incoming threats such as tactical and theatre ballistic missiles at ranges of 200km and at altitudes up to 150km.

The THAAD system provides the upper tier of a 'layered defensive shield' to protect high value strategic or tactical sites such as airfields or populations centres. The THAAD missile intercepts exo-atmospheric and endo-atmospheric threats.

The sites would also be protected with lower and medium-tier defensive shield systems such as the Patriot PAC-3 which intercepts hostile incoming missiles at 20 to 100 times lower altitudes.









THAAD missile battery
The THAAD battery typically operates nine launch vehicles each carrying eight missiles, with two mobile tactical operations centres (TOCs) and a ground-based radar (GBR).

THAAD missile information
The target object data and the predicted intercept point are downloaded to the missile prior to launch. The updated target and intercept data are also transmitted to the missile in flight.

The missile is 6.17m in length and is equipped with a single stage solid fuel rocket motor with thrust vectoring. The rocket motor is supplied by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. The launch weight is 900kg.

"The THAAD (theatre high-altitude area defence) missile system is an easily transportable defensive weapon."
A separation motor is installed at the interstage at the forward end of the booster section. The separation motor assists in the separation of the kinetic kill vehicle (KKV) and the spent boost motor.

The shroud separates from the KV before impact. The KV is equipped with a liquid-fuelled divert and attitude control system (DACS), developed by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, for the terminal maneuvering towards the target intercept point.

A gimbal-mounted infrared seeker module in the nose section provides terminal homing to close in on the target missile in the terminal phase of approach.

During the initial fly-out phase of flight, the seeker window is covered with a two-piece clamshell protection shroud. Metal bladders installed in the shroud are inflated to eject the protective shroud before the seeker initiates target acquisition. The infrared seeker head, developed by BAe Systems, is an indium antimonide (InSb) staring focal plane array operating in the mid infrared 3 to 5 micron wavelength band.

M1075 truck-mounted launcher
There are nine M1075 truck mounted launchers in a typical THAAD battery. Launch vehicle is a modified Oshkosh Truck Corporation heavy expanded mobility tactical truck with load-handling system (HEMTT-LHS). The 12m-long by 3.25m-wide launch vehicle carries ten missile launch containers. While on the launcher, lead acid batteries provide the primary power. The batteries are recharged with a low-noise generator.

After firing, reloading the launch vehicle takes 30 minutes.

Ground-based radar
The cueing for the THAAD system is provided by the Raytheon Systems AN/TPY-2 ground-based radar (GBR) for surveillance, threat classification and threat identification. THAAD can also be cued by military surveillance satellites such as Brilliant Eyes.




The ground based radar units are C-130 air transportable. The AN/TPY-2 radar uses a 9.2m² aperture full field of view antenna phased array operating at I and J bands (X band) and containing 25,344 solid-state microwave transmit and receive modules. The radar has the capability to acquire missile threats at ranges up to 1,000km.

The first production radar is being tested at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. In September 2004, the THAAD radar tracked a tactical ballistic missile, cueing a successful intercept by a Patriot PAC-3 missile. A second radar was delivered to White Sands in June 2007.

Tactical operations centre
Each THAAD battery has two tactical operations centres (TOC). The TOC has been developed by Northrop Grumman, formerly Litton Data Systems Division. The TOC accommodates two operator stations and is equipped with three Hewlett-Packard HP-735 data processors.

"The THAAD missile uses kinetic energy, hit-to-kill technology."
Mobile BMC3I units
The THAAD system is able to 'hand over' targets to other defence systems and can cue the targets to other weapons. THAAD is able to interface to other US or allied air defence data information networks and to the battle management and command control and communications centre.

Northrop Grumman has been contracted to develop the THAAD BMC3I. The battle management and command, control, computers and intelligence (BMC3I) units are installed in hardened shelters mounted on high-mobility multi-wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs).

The THAAD communications system can use JTIDS, mobile subscriber equipment, SINCGARS and the joint tactical terminal for voice and data communications and for intelligence data transfer.

 

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Thaad System doesn't use explosive warhead rather use kinetic energy for interception.




 
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Pentagon Awards $2.4Bn to Build THAAD Anti-Missile Interceptors for Saudi Arabia
02.04.2019

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Lockheed Martin has received a more than $2.4 billion contract from the US Missile Defence Agency (MDA) to provide Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) interceptors to Saudi Arabia, the US Department of Defence said in a press release.

"Lockheed Martin Corporation Missiles and Fire Control [of] Dallas, Texas is being awarded a $2,457,390,566 modification… contract for the production of THAAD interceptors… to support the US government and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," the release said on Monday.

U.S. missile defense system called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, is seen at a golf course in Seongju, South Korea, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017

© AP Photo / Choo Sang-chul/Newsis


In November 2018, Saudi Arabia signed a letter of offer and acceptance with the United States for the purchase of the THAAD missile defence system. The $15 billion deal was seen as paving the way for the sale of 44 THAAD launchers, missiles and equipment.

 

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Florida Air Defenders adopt new training to counter ballistic missiles
By 2nd Lt. James Lanza
May 03, 2019


Maj. Gen. Timothy Sheriff, Commander of the 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command hands graduation certificates to the 12 Soldiers of the 164th Air Defense Artillery Brigade who completed the Patriot Training Program, designed to teach Army National Guard air defenders how to properly integrate systems such as Patriot Surface to Air Missiles and THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) within their commands, during a ceremony at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center.

Maj. Gen. Timothy Sheriff, Commander of the 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command hands graduation certificates to the 12 Soldiers of the 164th Air Defense Artillery Brigade who completed the Patriot Training Program, designed to teach Army National Guard air defenders how to properly integrate systems such as Patriot Surface to Air Missiles and THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) within their commands, during a ceremony at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center. (Photo Credit: 2nd Lt. James Lanza)

STARKE, Fla. - Today, the 164th Air Defense Artillery Brigade recognized the accomplishments of 12 Soldiers graduating from the 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command's Patriot Training Program during a ceremony at the Florida Army National Guard's Regional Training Institute at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center.

The program, designed to teach Army National Guard air defenders how to properly integrate systems such as Patriot Surface-to-Air Missiles and THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) within their existing command, is the product of a growing challenge air defense units have faced in past years.

Due to a major increase in threats, the air defense artillery community has faced an uptick in mobilizations and missions. International crises have demanded the expedited and unplanned mobilizations of assets such as THAAD and Patriot weapon platforms, designed to intercept and destroy enemy ballistic missiles. The need to quickly integrate these systems into existing commands have proven to be one of the major challenges to Army National Guard air defense artillery brigades, spurring the creation of the Patriot Training Program.

"This program is designed to fill a capability void for National Guard air defense brigades, giving them Patriot and THAAD experience, which we had previously lacked," said Maj. Gen. Timothy Sheriff, Commander of the 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command. "Air Defense is one of the top modernization priorities of the Army. As we move toward multi-domain operations, we're required to enhance our capabilities and look at new ways to defend the force."

In the past, weapon platforms such as the Avenger Air Defense System, were unable to integrate other platforms such as Patriot or THAAD into their command, with each system needing its own separate command and control elements. The Patriot Training Program ensures each system can be quickly streamlined under a single command.

"We have now added high and medium altitude air defense knowledge as a critical competency to our missions. This knowledge is critical for ensuring we are successful at our brigades current and future missions," said Col. Sean Boyette, Commander of the 164th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. "This is a key requirement as we prepare for our mobilization to Europe, where we will provide command and control of Patriot assets."

While this training added a new capability to the unit, many Soldiers highlighted how the program enhanced their capacity to operate in a joint and multinational environment.

"After this program, I'm better equipped to speak the joint language and integrate Patriots, not only for our U.S. Soldiers, but also our joint and international partners overseas," said Maj. Scott Peterson, a recent Patriot Training Program graduate.

After the moment of recognition for the new graduates, Soldiers were quick to return to training for their upcoming mobilization in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, knowing their training plays a key role in the furthering of our national interests.

"These Soldiers step away from this training as subject matter experts on Patriot procedures and air battle management, while getting experience on theater air and missile defense systems and integrating joint theater assets," said Sheriff. "This training fits into the U.S. National Defense Strategy and signifies that we have the capabilities to protect and defend our nation and its allies around the world."

 

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Russia Won't Like This: THAAD Missile Defense System Headed to Europe
April 14, 2019
by David Axe



As of early 2019, the Army had acquired around 200 THAAD rockets for its seven batteries and roughly 40 launchers. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency on its website describes THAAD as a “land-based element capable of shooting down a ballistic missile both inside and just outside the atmosphere.”

The U.S. Army in April 2019 announced it would deploy to Romania one of its seven Terminal High-Altitude Area-Defense missile-interceptor batteries. The planned summer 2019 deployment coincides with a shut-down of the U.S. Aegis Ashore missile-defense site, also in Romania, for a scheduled upgrade.

THAAD, which in theory possesses some of the same capabilities that Aegis Ashore does, could help to fill the gap left by the Aegis system’s temporary suspension.

But THAAD also could antagonize the Russian government, just like Aegis Ashore has done.

“At the request of NATO, the Secretary of Defense will deploy a U.S. Army Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system to Romania this summer in support of NATO ballistic-missile defense,” U.S. European Command announced.

“The THAAD, from the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, will integrate into the existing NATO BMD architecture during a limited period of scheduled maintenance and updates on the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System in Romania this summer.”

As of early 2019, the Army had acquired around 200 THAAD rockets for its seven batteries and roughly 40 launchers. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency on its website describes THAAD as a “land-based element capable of shooting down a ballistic missile both inside and just outside the atmosphere.”

According to the agency, THAAD has “completed 15 successful intercepts in 15 attempts since program initiation. The two most recent tests were conducted in July 2017.”

The Army mans THAAD batteries on the island of Guam as well as in South Korea. The Army in March 2019 deployed a THAAD battery to Israel. The United Arab Emirates also operates THAAD.

“While deployed, THAAD will support the ongoing Aegis Ashore Romania mission at Naval Support Facility Deveselu as part of the existing U.S. and NATO BMD mission. Once in place, NATO’s Allied Air Command will assume operational control of THAAD for the duration of its mission.”

Aegis Ashore is a land-based version of the U.S. Navy’s SM-3 missile-interceptor. The Missile Defense Agency by way of NATO operates Aegis Ashore sites in Poland and Romania. The sites help to defend Europe and the United States from limited missile strikes by a Middle East power such as Iran.

U.S. missile defenses for decades have been controversial in Russia. Moscow views American BMD systems as a threat to the global balance of power, as they, in theory, could render ineffective Russia’s own nuclear-tipped rockets. In fact, most U.S. missile-defenses lack the speed, range and accuracy to intercept an intercontinental ballistic missile.

However, the United States’s Ground-Based Midcourse Defense systems in Alaska and California, both of which exist to intercept North Korean rockets, in controlled tests have proved to be capable of hitting some ICBM-class weapons.
Many Russians also believe, wrongly, that Aegis Ashore has a ground-to-ground capability and could function as a surprise first-strike weapon.

Aegis Ashores "play to a very specific Russian fear," said Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

Lewis said many Russians believe the United States has planned for years to secretly arm its missile-defense installations in Poland and Romania with nuclear weapons, transforming defensive weapons into what Lewis describes as a "covert" strike force whose true mission is to launch a surprise atomic attack on Moscow in order to "decapitate" the Russian government.

"It's insane but I swear they 100-percent believe this," Lewis said of the Russians.

NATO is eager to stress that both Aegis Ashore and THAAD pose no danger to Russia. “NATO’s Aegis Ashore ballistic-missile defense site in Romania will undergo a long-planned update this summer,” the alliance stated after the United States announced the THAAD deployment.

“This update, which has been taking place across the Aegis ballistic-missile defense system fleet, will not provide any offensive capability to the Aegis Ashore missile-defense system,” NATO added.

The THAAD unit will be under NATO operational control and the full political control of the North Atlantic Council. It will only remain operational until the Aegis Ashore Romania site is back online. The update and deployment are expected to last several weeks.

In accordance with NATO's ballistic-missile defense system, the THAAD unit will be focused on potential threats from outside the Euro-Atlantic area. Aegis Ashore Romania is purely a defensive system.

 

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U.S. deployed THAAD air missile defense system to Romania
May 6, 2019

U.S. deployed THAAD air missile defense system to Romania

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jason Epperson

The 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command announced that the U.S. military has deployed its most advanced air and missile defense system to Romania.

American troops already offload a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) radar and launchers from a C-17 Globemaster III planes at Mihail Kogalniceanu (MK) Air Base in Romania.

“The THAAD deployed to Romania from 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command out of Fort Bliss, Texas,” according to a statement put out by 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command.

Also added that the deployment of the THAAD is in support of the NATO Ballistic Missile Defense mission and reinforces the strong and unremitting U.S. commitment to the defense of NATO allies.

Last month, NATO officials said that the United States will fulfill its commitment to NATO’s Ballistic Missile Defence by the temporary deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to Deveselu in Romania.

“The THAAD unit will be under NATO operational control and the full political control of the North Atlantic Council. It will only remain operational until the Aegis Ashore Romania site is back online. The update and deployment are expected to last several weeks,” said in news release.

Also stressed that In accordance with NATO’s Ballistic Missile Defence system, the THAAD unit will be focused on potential threats from outside the Euro-Atlantic area.
Master Sgt. James Redd, Staff Sgt. Thomas Harper and Cpl. Alex Erlewine, all assigned to 174th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, Ohio Army National Guard prepare for the next inbound equipment during the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) deployment to Mihail Kogalniceanu (MK) Air Base, Romania, May 4, 2019. Soldiers of the 174th ADA were tasked with mission command during the deployment. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jason Epperson
Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jason Epperson
 

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Lockheed Martin's THAAD System Successfully Demonstrates Remote Launcher Capability During Intercept Test

KWAJALEIN ATOLL, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Aug. 30, 2019 -- Lockheed Martin's (NYSE: LMT) Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system successfully intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) target today in a missile defense test led by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency with critical support provided by the U.S. Army.

During the test, designated Flight Test THAAD (FTT-23), the THAAD system located at U.S. Army Garrison Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands successfully detected, tracked and intercepted a threat representative target using a THAAD launcher that was positioned at distance from the other THAAD end items.



The THAAD radar detected, acquired and tracked the target. The THAAD system then developed a fire control solution and launched an interceptor from a remotely-located THAAD launcher that destroyed the target's reentry vehicle.

This was the 16th successful intercept in 16 attempts for the THAAD system since 2005.

The THAAD system now has the capability to physically untether a THAAD launcher from the battle manager and launch interceptors remotely, greatly enhancing launcher emplacement options and increasing the defended area.

"The enhanced THAAD system performed flawlessly in today's test, and we are proud to support the Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Army as they continue to demonstrate the system's unmatched capabilities," said Richard McDaniel, vice president of Upper Tier Integrated Air and Missile Defense Systems at Lockheed Martin. "This successful test paves the way for delivery of an urgent need capability that will enhance THAAD's emplacement options resulting in greater asset protection."

THAAD is highly effective at defending against a host of ballistic missile threats to include mass raid scenarios. The system uses hit-to-kill technology to destroy a threat with direct impact neutralizing lethal payloads before they reach protected assets on the ground. The system is rapidly deployable, mobile and interoperable with all other Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) elements, including Patriot/PAC-3, Aegis, forward-based sensors and the Command, Control, Battle Management and Communications system.

 

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