Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Weapon System
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Weapon System

Lockheed Martin to Produce Eighth THAAD Battery for US Missile Defense Agency (MDA)

Lockheed Martin has received a contract totaling $74 million to produce the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Weapon System for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The award amount covers the production of an eighth THAAD battery for the U.S. government. It’s expected to be fielded by 2025. The first THAAD Battery (Alpha Battery, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade) was activated in May 2008 and the seventh THAAD battery was activated by the U.S. Army in December 2016.

Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), formerly Theater High Altitude Area Defense, is an American anti-ballistic missile defense system designed to shoot down short-, medium-, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase (descent or reentry) by intercepting with a hit-to-kill approach. The system uses Hit-to-Kill technology to destroy a threat with direct impact neutralizing lethal payloads before they reach protected assets on the ground. THAAD continues incremental capability improvements within the weapon system to continually improve capability against current and emerging threats.

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

“This award demonstrates the U.S. government’s continued confidence in the THAAD Weapon System and in its unique endo- and exo-atmospheric defense capability,” said Dan Nimblett, Vice President of Upper Tier Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “With 16 of 16 successful flight test intercepts and recent combat success clearly documenting the effectiveness of THAAD, adding an eighth battery will further enhance readiness against existing and evolving ballistic missile threats.”

Originally a United States Army program, THAAD has come under the umbrella of the Missile Defense Agency. The Navy has a similar program, the sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, which also has a land component (“Aegis ashore”). THAAD was originally scheduled for deployment in 2012, but initial deployment took place in May 2008. THAAD has been deployed in the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Romania, and South Korea. On 17 January 2022, THAAD made its first operational interception, of an incoming medium-range ballistic missile in the 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.