First THAAD Missiles Delivered to the U.S. Army

An internal view of the THAAD Tactical Operations Station (TOS), seen during a training exercise of the first THAAD battery at Ft. Bliss. Photo: MDA

The US Army has received the first two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missiles from Lockheed Martin at the Anniston Defense Munitions Center, May 16, 2011 capping off years of planning and development. Two Army units are currently being equipped with the missile, both are located at Ft. Bliss, TX. the first battery was activated in May 2008 and the second in October 2009, currently undergoing training and certification.

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Missile is off-loaded from its transfer truck May 16 by a forklift in Anniston Army Depot's Ammunition Limited Area. The missile is one of the first two THAAD missiles. Photo: Mr Jeremy W Guthrie (AMC)

The THAAD missile is designed to intercept short, medium and intermediate ballistic missiles. The missile uses ‘hit-to-kill’ mechanism to destroy its targets, using kinetic energy developed through impact, rather than the explosion of a warhead in a proximity to the target. This concept has been proven more efficient against missiles, which follow a more predictable trajectory, compared to aircraft and cruise missiles.

ADMC will be responsible for maintaining, shipping and escorting the missiles to their destination. The two missiles have arrived at Anniston Defence Munitions Center of the US Army and will be there until the need arises to ship them to the war-fighter.

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