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Product Type:

Ballistic Missile Defense System

Using Service:

Joint Program managed by MDA

Program Status:

In Production

Prime Contractor:

Systems Integrator: Lockheed Martin Corp.

AN/TPY-2 Radar: Raytheon Company

THAAD Missile Launch

About the THAAD System:

Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), formerly Theater High Altitude Area Defense, is an American missile defense system designed to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate ballistic missiles in the terminal phase of flight inside and outside the atmosphere (endo- and exo-atmospheric intercept capability).

THAAD is a key element of the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) and the program is managed by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). THAAD provides a rapidly-transportable ballistic missile defense capability, using so-called "hit-to-kill" technology (the THAAD interceptor missile carries no warhead but relies on the kinetic energy of the impact to destroy enemy missiles). The THAAD concept was first proposed in 1987 and, in September 1992, the Army selected Lockheed Martin as the prime contractor for the initial development of THAAD and, in June 2000, Lockheed Martin won the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract.

A THAAD Battery consists of six truck-mounted M1075 launchers, 48 interceptors (8 per launcher), a THAAD Fire Control and Communications (TFCC) unit aka Tactical Station Group (TSG), and one AN/TPY-2 radar (the world's most advanced mobile radar). The truck platform used for THAAD is the Oshkosh M1120 HEMTT LHS from the Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles (FHTV). A THAAD battery is operated by 95 Army soldiers.

The terminal phase is very short and begins once the missile reenters the earth's atmosphere. It is the last opportunity to intercept the missile before the warhead reaches its target. Intercepting a warhead during the terminal phase is difficult and the least desirable phase because there is little margin for error and the intercept will occur close to the intended target. To intercept missiles in the midcourse phase of flight, the MDA is developing the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system.

The THAAD interceptor is manufactured by Lockheed Martin in Troy, AL and is more than 20 feet (6.2 meters) long, weighs 1,984 pounds (900 kg), and travels at speeds of up to 6,250 mph (10,000 km/h). The missile has a range of 124 miles (200 km) and a ceiling of 93 miles (150 km). Orbital ATK is a supplier of mid-body aerostructures for the THAAD interceptor. On July 9, 2015, Lockheed Martin delivered the 100th THAAD interceptor.

The THAAD missile is powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne single-stage solid propellant rocket motor with thrust vectoring. After burnout, the booster separates from the kill vehicle, which continues to the interception point. For maneuvering outside the atmosphere, the missile is equipped with the Aerojet Rocketdyne liquid Divert and Attitude Control System (DACS) which provides quick reaction propulsion that positions the THAAD missile to intercept its target. In the final intercept phase, the kill vehicle is guided by a focal plane array infrared seeker (made by BAE Systems). THAAD Guidance and control systems are supplied by Honeywell.

THAAD can accept cues from the AEGIS BMD Combat System, as well as from satellites and other external sensors (including JLENS) to further extend the battle space and defended area covered. THAAD can operate in concert with the lower-tier Patriot/PAC-3 missile defense system to provide increased levels of effectiveness.

The AN/TPY-2 radar, manufactured by Raytheon, is the largest air-transportable X-band Radar in the world. Its task is to search, track, and discriminate objects and provide updated tracking data to the interceptor. The ground-based radar unit can be transported by C-5, C-17 and C-130 military transport aircraft.

The initial fielding of the first two THAAD batteries was completed in FY 2012. The batteries are stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas. On March 7, 2012, Lockheed Martin completed the delivery of all hardware and components associated with the fielding of the first U.S. Army THAAD Battery. The Army currently plans to deploy seven THAAD batteries.

On October 25, 2012, the AEGIS BMD Combat System, the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile, and THAAD (incl. two AN/TPY-2 radars) engaged in the first-ever test of all three systems working together.

On September 23, 2013, Lockheed Martin was awarded a production contract worth $3.9 billion for the manufacture and delivery of up to 110 interceptors for the U.S. Army. The contract also includes interceptors and other ground hardware for UAE.


Provide combatant commanders with rapidly deployable, ground-based missile defense components that deepen, extend and complement the BMDS, which will defeat ballistic missiles of all types and ranges in all phases of flight.

FY 2020 & FY 2021 - THAAD DoD Program:

This data is available in Forecast International's U.S. Defense Budget Forecast, a comprehensive analytical database containing historical and forecast budget figures, year-to-year funding comparisons, congressional budget markups, program justification documents, and much more.

Sources Used: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Lockheed Martin Corp.,
Raytheon, The Boeing Company, Aerojet Rocketdyne, and BAE Systems.

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Missile Forecast:

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Forecast International Budget Data:

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DoD Spending in FY 2014, FY 2015, FY 2016, FY 2017 and FY 2018 + 5-year forecast

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