This weekend, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III directed an array of additional U.S. military capabilities to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility in order to bolster the ability of American forces there to better defend themselves. Among the capabilities headed to the Middle East are the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group, a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery, also called THAAD, and additional Patriot missile battalions. Additional U.S. troops were placed on “prepare to deploy orders,” as well. On Oct. 7, terror group Hamas attacked the sovereign state of Israel, killing hundreds — including Americans. Fighting continues today between Hamas and the Israeli Defense Forces. Since the attack, the U.S. has reaffirmed its support for the Israeli Defense Forces and the Israeli people.
“We are going to do everything we need to do to ensure that our forces are protected. As always, we maintain the inherent right to self defense. The focus of the department continues to be on supporting Israel’s right to defend itself from terrorist attacks, deterring a broader conflict in the region, and then ensuring force protection of our troops. This is meant to be a deterrence message to those who would want to escalate this conflict into a wider regional conflict. We will do everything and take all necessary measures to protect U.S. forces and our interests overseas. No one wants to see a widening conflict, and that is our primary goal. But we will also never hesitate to protect our forces,” Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said during a meeting today with the Pentagon press corps.
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. THAAD was developed after the experience of Iraq’s Scud missile attacks during the Gulf War in 1991. The THAAD interceptor carries no warhead, instead relying on its kinetic energy of impact to destroy the incoming missile. Originally a United States Army program, THAAD has come under the umbrella of the Missile Defense Agency. 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 hostile medium-range ballistic missile in the UAE.
The MIM-104 Patriot is a surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, the primary such system used by the United States Army and several allied states. It is manufactured by the U.S. defense contractor Raytheon and derives its name from the radar component of the weapon system. The AN/MPQ-53 at the heart of the system is known as the “Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target”, which is a backronym for “Patriot”. Starting in 1984, the Patriot system began to replace the Nike Hercules system as the U.S. Army’s primary High to Medium Air Defense (HIMAD) system and the MIM-23 Hawk system as the U.S. Army’s medium tactical air defense system. In addition to these roles, Patriot has been given a function in the U.S. Army’s anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system. The system is expected to stay fielded until at least 2040.