The U.S. Army activated the first battery of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Weapon System at Fort Bliss, Texas. THAAD is developed for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and produced by Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT). Alpha Battery/4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 32nd Army Air & Missile Defense Command will receive 24 THAAD interceptors, three THAAD launchers, a THAAD Fire Control and a THAAD radar as part of the initial fielding. In addition, the battery will have logistics support assets, such as the Battery Support Center and Integrated Contractor Support System, as well as the necessary spares for a fielded unit.

Full-system fielding is scheduled to begin next year (in 2009) with the Brigade’s A4 Battery. The unit already began receiving the weapon system’s equipment and training on the THAAD equipment is already underway.

THAAD flight testing continues later this year, with two flights scheduled before the end of Fiscal Year 2008 in September and two during FY09, which commences October 1. Since November 2005, the THAAD Weapon System program has conducted seven successful flight tests, including four tests involving the successful intercept of threat representative targets. A production contract for the first two fire units was awarded to Lockheed Martin in late 2006.

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