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THAAD
THAAD
THAAD
Credit: Boeing / Rocketdyne
American anti-ballistic missile. Theatre High-Altitude Air Defense. SDIO/BMDO project. Single stage vehicle.

Status: Active. First Launch: 1995-04-21. Last Launch: 2015-11-01. Number: 29 . Gross mass: 600 kg (1,320 lb). Height: 6.20 m (20.30 ft). Diameter: 0.34 m (1.11 ft). Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

Lockheed Martin was selected as prime contractor for a THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense / Theater High Altitude Area Defense) system in September 1992. This was to provide an upper-tier anti-missile defense to complement the Patriot PAC-3. The first test series in 1995-1999 was spectacularly unsuccessful, with only the last two of nine firings intercepting the target or even leaving the pad. Nevertheless Lockheed Martin was given a development contract in June 2000. All 11 of the test firings in 2005-2009 were considered successful, including six intercepts. Lockheed received a production contract in January 2007, and in May 2008 the first of 1400 planned THAAD missiles entered service with the US Army.

Each THAAD battery consists of nine launch trucks with ten missiles each, two mobile tactical operations centers, and a multimode ground-based radar used for surveillance and multiple target tracking out to a range of 1,000 km (600 miles). Target data is uploaded to the missile before launch and updated by radio link during flight. The single-stage solid propellant missile uses thrust vectoring to maneuver. After burn-out in outer space, the clamshell shroud separates and releases the hit-to-kill vehicle. The kill vehicle's staring infrared seeker acquires the target warhead, and uses a liquid propellant Divert and Attitude Control System to home in on the target, which is destroyed by direct impact. Maximum intercept range is 200 km (125 miles) for a target at 150 km (93 miles) altitude.

Historical Essay © Andreas Parsch

Lockheed Martin THAAD

The THAAD (Theater High Altitude Area Defense) missile defense system was first proposed in 1987, and in 1990 the formal request for proposals was submitted to the industry. In September 1992, the U.S. Army selected Lockheed Martin as prime contractor for THAAD development, and the first THAAD flight test occurred in April 1995.

A THAAD battery consists of about nine launch trucks with ten missiles each, two mobile tactical operations centers, and the Ground-Based Radar (GBR). The GBR is employed for surveillance at ranges of up to 1000 km (600 miles), target identification and target tracking. Targeting information is uploaded to the missile immediately before launch and continuously updated during the flight. The THAAD missile is powered by a single stage solid-propellant rocket motor with thrust vectoring. After burnout, the booster is separated from the kill vehicle (KV), which continues to the interception point. For exo-atmospheric manoeuvering, the KV is equipped with a Boeing-developed liquid DACS (Divert and Attitude Control System). In the terminal intercept phase, the KV is guided by an InSb staring FPA (Focal Plane Array) infrared seeker, whose window is protected in the initial flight phase by a clamshell protection shroud. The KV has no explosive warhead and destroys the target by direct impact. The THAAD can intercept ballistic missile targets at altitudes up to 150 km (93 miles) at a range of more than 200 km (125 miles).

Between 21 April 1995 and 2 August 1999, a total of 11 THAAD flight tests occurred. The initial tests validated propulsion and seeker systems, and the first actual intercept was attempted in the 4th flight on 13 December 1995. However, the test failed and the first successful interception (a Hera ballistic target) actually did not occur before the 10th flight on 10 June 1999! The reasons for the preceding six failures were various, and included failures in the propulsion system, stage separation, seeker soft- and hardware, and the kill vehicle's DACS. The 11th and so far last test was also successful, but the system's bad test record of course significantly delayed the program.

In late 1999, it was decided to enter the the EMD (Engineering and Manufacturing Development) phase of the THAAD program, and the EMD contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin in June 2000. The first of a total of 16 EMD flight tests is scheduled for 2004, and start of production is tentatively planned for 2007. The U.S. Army currently plans to procure more than 1400 THAAD missiles, which will eventually form the upper-tier complement to the Patriot PAC-3 in the Army's TBMD (Theater Ballistic Missile Defense) system.

Designation Note: THAAD will probably receive an MIM-nnn designation once it enters production and service.

Specifications

Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate!

Data for THAAD:

Length 6.17 m (20 ft 3 in)
Diameter booster: 34 cm (13.4 in); KV: 37 cm (14.5 in)
Weight 900 kg (2000 lb)
Speed 2800 m-s (9200 fps)
Ceiling 150 km (93 miles)
Range > 200 km (125 miles)
Propulsion Pratt & Whitney solid-fueled rocket
Warhead none ("hit-to-kill")
Main Sources

[1] Hajime Ozu: "Missile 2000 - Reference Guide to World Missile Systems", Shinkigensha, 2000
[2] Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control Website
[3] GlobalSecurity.org Website
[4] Army Technology Website: "THAAD Theater High Altitude Area Defense Missile System", Net Resources International Ltd.
[5] Center for Defense Information Website



More at: THAAD.

Family: anti-ballistic. Country: USA. Launch Vehicles: THAAD. Propellants: Solid. Launch Sites: White Sands, Barking Sands, Kwajalein Meck. Agency: Lockheed. Bibliography: 2, 563.

1995 April 21 - . 15:04 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1995 July 31 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1995 October 13 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1995 December 13 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • ABM test - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1996 March 22 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • ABM test - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1996 July 15 - . 11:31 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • ABM test - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1997 March 6 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • ABM test - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1998 May 12 - . 11:25 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD. FAILURE: Failure.
  • ABM test - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 0 km (0 mi).

1999 March 29 - . 12:13 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • ABM test - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1999 June 10 - . 11:14 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • ABM test - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1999 August 2 - . 11:44 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • ABM test - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

2005 November 22 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • Block 04 Demo - . Nation: USA. Agency: Lockheed. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

2006 May 11 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • Virtual Target - . Nation: USA. Agency: Lockheed. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

2006 July 12 - . 11:20 GMT - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • High Endo - . Nation: USA. Agency: Lockheed. Apogee: 60 km (37 mi).

2007 January 27 - . 05:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Barking Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • High Endo - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

2007 April 6 - . 06:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Barking Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • Mid Endo - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 60 km (37 mi).

2007 June 26 - . Launch Site: White Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • Low Endo - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 40 km (24 mi).

2007 October 27 - . 07:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Barking Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • Exo - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

2008 June 26 - . 02:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Barking Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • Mid Endo - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 60 km (37 mi).

2009 March 18 - . 00:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Barking Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • High Endo - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 60 km (37 mi).

2009 March 18 - . 00:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Barking Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • THAAD KV - . Nation: USA. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi). ABM Test.

2010 June 29 - . 07:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Barking Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • Low Endo - . Nation: USA. Agency: US Army. Apogee: 20 km (12 mi).

2011 October 5 - . 06:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Barking Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • THAAD KV - . Nation: USA. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi). Intercept mission. THAAD antimissile system tested against two target missiles. The THAAD missiles were launched from a truck on the Barking Sands missile base on the Kauai shore..

2011 October 5 - . 06:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Barking Sands. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • THAAD KV - . Nation: USA. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi). Intercept mission. THAAD antimissile system tested against two target missiles. The THAAD missiles were launched from a truck on the Barking Sands missile base on the Kauai shore..

2012 October 25 - . Launch Site: Kwajalein. Launch Complex: Kwajalein Meck. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • THAAD FTI-01 - . Nation: USA. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi). Interceptor mission, part of the FTI-01 missile defence experiment. Successfully intercepted an E-LRALT target launched from a C-17 off Wake Island..

2013 September 10 - . Launch Site: Kwajalein. Launch Complex: Kwajalein Meck. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • THAAD KV Aegis Backup - . Nation: USA. Anti-ballistic missile.

2013 September 10 - . Launch Site: Kwajalein. Launch Complex: Kwajalein Meck. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • THAAD KV eMBRM intercept - . Nation: USA. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi). Anti-ballistic missile.

2015 November 1 - . 03:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Wake Island. Launch Vehicle: THAAD.
  • THAAD KV - . Nation: USA. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi). Interceptor mission. Impacted Pacific Ocean..
  • THAAD KV - . Nation: USA. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi). Interceptor mission. Impacted Pacific Ocean..


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