THAAD Detects, Intercepts Target Missile
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system detected and intercepted an incoming ballistic missile target, BAE Systems announced.
THAAD, using a BAE Systems seeker, scored against the bogey in a July 12 test firing at White Sands Missile Range, according to the company.
The test was conducted by the Missile Defence Agency, the Army and Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT], prime contractor and systems integrator.
Thia event was a “seeker characterization test” to examine how the interceptor and its seeker detect an incoming target missile in order to destroy it. The BAE Systems seeker provides infrared imagery of the targeted warhead to the missile computer for use in guiding the interceptor to its target.
“The test objective was to collect imagery of a unitary warhead target,” said John Watkins, BAE Systems THAAD program manager. “This was the first flight test that the THAAD seeker had a target in its view.”
The seeker met all required test parameters along with all the other elements of the THAAD system, paving the way for another intercept test later this year, according to BAE.
THAAD is designed to defend U.S. and allied soldiers, military assets, and population centers from the threat of ballistic missile attacks. To achieve the lethality required to defeat ballistic missile warheads, THAAD destroys them through direct “hit-to-kill” targeting.
BAE Systems began work on the THAAD seeker demonstration and validation contract in 1991. The current seeker development program started in 2000. A manufacturing contract is anticipated in 2007 that leads to the deployment of the first THAAD fire unit to the Army in 2009.