The Army recently conducted two successful intercept tests by the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. Based on careful analysis of those successes, the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) has authorized the Army to move into the next phase of the THAAD program, the Engineering Manufacturing and Development (EMD) phase. This will result in the cancellation of THAAD flight test 12, the last test scheduled in the Program Definition/Risk Reduction (PDRR) phase.
The primary objectives of the EMD phase are to translate the most promising design approach into a stable, interoperable, producible, supportable, and cost effective design; to validate the manufacturing or production process; and to demonstrate system capabilities through testing. Low rate initial production (LRIP) occurs while the engineering and manufacturing development phase is still continuing as test results and design fixes or upgrades are incorporated.
BMDO and the Army are confident that the THAAD system has proven itself in the PDRR phase, and is ready to move to the next stage of the program. This decision will save millions of dollars and potentially accelerate the ultimate fielding of the THAAD system, currently scheduled for 2007. BMDO and the Army will meet all statutory and Defense Department acquisition program requirements prior to entering into the EMD phase of the THAAD program.
THAAD consists of four integrated sub-systems including a radar system, a command and control station, a launcher, and the missiles. Working together, operated by Army air defense soldiers, THAAD provides an umbrella of protection for our soldiers.
THAAD will provide theater-wide area defense from enemy launched tactical ballistic missiles operating in the lower reaches of space and within the Earth's atmosphere, directed against deployed military forces. The ability to intercept missiles at high altitudes and/or long distances from the target allows THAAD to provide broad area coverage of deployed military assets. THAAD is an area defense system that provides a protective footprint measured in hundreds of miles. It provides the upper level protection of an integrated missile defense system.