HEMTT-based M1075 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Missile Launcher
HEMTT-based M1075 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Missile Launcher

Lockheed Martin Awarded $1.4 Billion Contract to Supply THAAD to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Lockheed Martin Corp. Missiles and Fire Control, Dallas, Texas, is being awarded a $1,052,051,914 modification to a previously-awarded contract for the production of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Interceptors and associated one-shot devices to support the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) Foreign Military Sales (FMS) case requirements. The THAAD Interceptors and associated one-shot devices will be procured under fixed-price incentive (firm target) contract line items. The work will be performed in Dallas, Texas; Sunnyvale, California; Huntsville, Alabama; Camden, Arkansas; and Troy, Alabama, with an expected completion date of Aug. 1, 2027. The Missile Defense Agency, Huntsville, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

THAAD formerly Theater High Altitude Area Defense, is an American anti-ballistic missile defense system designed to shoot down ballistic missiles in their terminal phase (descent or reentry) by intercepting with a hit-to-kill approach. THAAD was developed after the experience of Iraq’s Scud missile attacks during the Gulf War in 1991. The THAAD interceptor carries no warhead, but relies on its kinetic energy of impact to destroy the incoming missile. A kinetic energy hit minimizes the risk of exploding conventional-warhead ballistic missiles, and the warhead of nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles will not detonate upon a kinetic-energy hit. Originally a United States Army program, THAAD has come under the umbrella of the Missile Defense Agency.

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Soldiers conduct Patriot emplacement training at Al Dhafra, UAE
Soldiers conduct Patriot emplacement training at Al Dhafra, UAE

The THAAD system is being designed, built, and integrated by Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control acting as prime contractor. Key subcontractors include Raytheon, Boeing, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Honeywell, BAE Systems, Oshkosh Defense, and MiltonCAT. Sometimes called Kinetic Kill technology, the THAAD missile destroys missiles by colliding with them, using hit-to-kill technology, like the MIM-104 Patriot PAC-3. Although the actual figures are classified, THAAD missiles have an estimated range of 125 miles (200 km), and can reach an altitude of 93 miles (150 km). A THAAD battery consists of at least six[41] launcher vehicles, each equipped with eight missiles, with two mobile tactical operations centers (TOCs) and the AN/TPY-2 ground-based radar (GBR).

The US government has approved the sale to Saudi Arabia of its advanced Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) missile defence system. On 6 October 2017, the US reached a deal to provide Saudi Arabia with THAAD in a deal worth $15 billion. Seven fire units each with a Raytheon AN/TPY-2 radar, two mobile tactical stations (with two spares for a total of 16), and six launchers (with two spares for a total of 44), 360 interceptor missiles. The U.S. State Department said the deal furthered US national security and foreign policy interests. It would boost Saudi and Gulf security against Iranian and other regional threats, the state department added. The announcement comes a day after Saudi Arabia agreed to buy air defence systems from Russia.

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