Dear Members and Friends,
Last night high above in the midnight blue over the Pacific Ocean, off the west coast of Kauai, Hawaii the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor collided at high speed with a single-stage scud-like target missile high in the earth’s atmosphere. The target, a liquid fueled short-range ballistic missile with very similar characteristics to a current Iranian short-range missile, was launched from a barge floating at sea. It was intercepted by a THAAD missile that was shot from its mobile launcher deployed at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) at 3:37 a.m. EDT.
This intercept was the 7th for the THAAD system and the last one before the Army Review Board Agency in January next year. The THAAD system will almost certainly receive certification to deploy with its capability to seek, track, discriminate and destroy short-range missiles at the review board after this success.
For the first time, this test integrated two-way information that was sent from the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) system deployed at PMRF and the Command and Control, Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC) system in the exercise to the THAAD providing realistic theater defense integration. These three U.S. missile defense systems will be working together throughout the world in defending and protecting our forward based troops, allies, friends and assets. This type of layered and integrated defense allows command and control to use the best sensor and shooter in the most efficient and effective way.
The test also marks the lowest intercept of the THAAD system inside the atmosphere. Flying inside the atmosphere requires fins on the rocket to take advantage of the aerodynamic factors. The THAAD missile and its unique engineering capability were able to adjust and hit the target without such fins. As such, the THAAD interceptor can intercept missiles in space, both in and out of the atmosphere providing earlier engagements and using the atmosphere to better discriminate the incoming warhead.
It is a great achievement for all those that have worked on this system, through the challenges of the 1990s to the successes of this decade, to witness THAAD’s string of intercepts on its way to deployment.
THAAD remains a system sought after by U.S. combat commanders who want it deployed in their areas of responsibility.
The Alpha 4 THAAD Battery of the 11th Air Defense Artillery “Imperial” Brigade, under the 32nd Army Air & Missile Defense Command at Fort Bliss, Texas will most likely be deployed next year with the first THAAD Battery in the Persian Gulf region of the U.S. Central Command to defend United States forces and allies against Iranian short- and medium-range missiles.
THAAD is a system that will make the Persian Gulf safer than it is today while adding to security and stability of this region as the threat remains at its highest here.