Dear Members and Friends,
Last night in Kauai at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, the United States Army and the Missile Defense Agency conducted a successful and fully operational intercept test of the soon to be deployed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. The test was performed by U.S. Army soldiers from Alpha 4 Battery from the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade out of Fort Bliss, Texas under the command of the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command in Hawaii. This was most significant test of the THAAD system, enabling complete independent operation by U.S. Soldiers and demonstrating the system’s processing and radar capability to shoot down multiple missiles of different ranges in the same time frame, which simulates a rigorous defense against salvo and multiple ballistic missile attacks that both Iran and North Korea have demonstrated in exercises. This test also represents the last major milestone for conditional release to the United States Army of this defensive weapon system from the Department of Defense and the Missile Defense Agency.
The THAAD system completes a robust layered defensive system for the United States military for regional and theater defense, as it fills the gap of upper atmosphere to lower space in the terminal and lower midcourse phase of a ballistic missile trajectory. THAAD overlaps the U.S. Patriot missile defense systems below space and overlaps in low space with U.S. Navy Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense and their SM-3 missiles. This layered defensive shield makes it very difficult for countermeasures and also provides complete coverage against releasing weapons from ballistic missiles above or below the current deployed U.S. systems. Due to the speed and altitude of the THAAD interceptors, the defended area is exponentially greater and can provide coverage of entire countries and states.
Credit is given not only to the U.S. Army Soldiers operating the THAAD battery last night but to the Pacific Missile Range Facility and the Missile Defense Agency for the complexity of the test, having four ballistic missiles up at the same time, and to the safe and successful execution of the operationally realistic scenario.
Because of THAAD’s demonstrated capabilities, U.S. Combat Commanders will be competing with each other on the deployment of this first Alpha 4 THAAD battery. More THAAD systems are needed and we must also allow and enable our allies to have these defensive systems, as the United States has done with its Patriot and Aegis missile defense systems with our allies. The more defenses we have globally, the safer our world and our national security will be.
On behalf of our members nationwide, it is with due respect and great appreciation that we acknowledge all those government and non-government engineers and supporters that have worked on the THAAD system, helping it overcome extreme challenges faced during the last decade to arrive at where it is today.
Our nation and world will be a safer place with this system.