THAAD performed a successful intercept October 5, 2011, scoring simultaneous kills of two targets. Photo: Lockheed Martin

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is funding the procurement of six Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) launchers for a new battery, to be fielded by 2015. In addition, the agency has funded the procurement of six additional launchers, strengthening the first and second operational batteries to the standard six launcher configuration. A production contract for the first two Batteries was awarded to Lockheed Martin in late 2006. Contracts for Batteries 3 and 4 were awarded in 2011. The US$150 million contract awarded to THAAD prime contractor Lockheed martin covers all 12 launchers, as well as two fire control and associated communications and support equipment for the fifth battery.

Since 2005, the THAAD program has successfully completed 12 flight tests, with nine-for-nine intercepts. The latest mission was an operational test conducted at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii, by THAAD soldiers from Alpha-4 (A-4), 11th Air Defense Artillery Imperial Brigade of the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command. During that mission, two THAAD interceptors destroyed two different targets. THAAD units are currently deployed at Ft. Bliss and Hawaii.

The Missile defense Agency is strengthening the 1st and 2nd THAAD batteries to the full six-launcher configuration. Photo: Lockheed Martin

The United Arab Emirates signed a deal to purchase the missile defense system on December 25, 2011. The 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, activated at Ft. Bliss TX in 2008 is part of the 32nd Army Air & Missile Defense Command. It currently has 24 THAAD interceptors, three launchers based on the M1120 HEMTT Load Handling System, a Fire Control and an AN/TPY-2 radar. The second unit, Alpha Battery, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment was activated at the base a year later.

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