Press Release

Lockheed Martin’s THAAD Weapon System Successful Intercept

By SpaceRef Editor
June 26, 2008
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Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) conducted a successful test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Weapon System at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kauai, HI. This flight test demonstrated the system’s ability to detect, track, discriminate and intercept a separating target in the mid endo-atmosphere. This separated target presented a new target class than the previous unitary targets intercepted by THAAD. A key objective of today’s test was to demonstrate the weapon system performance against a separated target.

Preliminary data indicates the THAAD flight test successfully met all test objectives. The test further demonstrated THAAD’s target acquisition, track, discrimination and aim-point selection capability against a new target set. As in previous tests, Soldiers operated the THAAD system throughout this mission. One more THAAD flight test is scheduled at PMRF by the end of 2008.

“This successful mission once again proves THAAD’s outstanding performance, this time against a new target type. The THAAD Team has again met the challenge and delivered mission success,” said Tom McGrath, program manager and vice president for THAAD at Lockheed Martin. “As we meet our increasing flight test objectives, the protection THAAD will provide to our Warfighters, friends and allies around the world becomes more significant.”

Since November 2005 the THAAD Weapon System program has achieved nine for nine successful flight tests, including five for five successful intercepts of threat representative targets:

  • November 2005 — Successful missile-only flight test
  • May 2006 — Successful integration of the THAAD Weapon System including the fire control system, radar, launcher and interceptor
  • July 2006 — Successful first unitary target intercept in the high endo atmosphere
  • September 2006 — Mission designated a ‘no-test’ when the target malfunctioned and was destroyed by WSMR Range Safety before the interceptor was launched; excellent THAAD ground data was acquired throughout the target anomaly
  • January 2007 — Successful high endo-atmospheric intercept of a Scud-like unitary target in THAAD’s first flight test at the PMRF
  • April 2007 — Successful intercept of a Scud-like unitary target at mid endo atmosphere
  • June 2007 — Successful missile-only flight test in low endo-atmosphere
  • October 2007 — Successful intercept of a Scud-like unitary target in the exo atmosphere
  • June 2008 — Successful intercept of a separating target in the mid endo atmosphere

A production contract for the first two THAAD Fire Units was awarded to Lockheed Martin in late 2006. Production of the THAAD launcher and fire control and communications unit is underway at Lockheed Martin’s manufacturing facility in Camden, AR and interceptor production is being conducted at Lockheed Martin’s Pike County Facility in Troy, AL. Delivery of the first Fire Unit is scheduled in FY’09.

THAAD is designed to defend U.S. troops, allied forces, population centers and critical infrastructure against short- to intermediate range ballistic missiles. THAAD comprises a fire control and communications system, interceptors, launchers and a radar. The THAAD interceptor uses hit-to-kill technology to destroy targets, and THAAD is the only weapon system that engages threat ballistic missiles at both endo- and exo-atmospheric altitudes.

A key element of the nation’s Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS), THAAD is a Missile Defense Agency program, with the program office located in Huntsville, AL. The agency is developing a BMDS to defend the United States, its deployed forces, friends and allies against ballistic missiles of all ranges and in all phases of flight.

Lockheed Martin is a world leader in systems integration and the development of air and missile defense systems and technologies, including the first operational hit-to-kill missile. It also has considerable experience in missile design and production, infrared seekers, command and control/battle management, and communications, precision pointing and tracking optics, as well as radar and signal processing. The company makes significant contributions to all major U.S. missile defense systems and participates in several global missile defense partnerships.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation reported 2007 sales of $41.9 billion. For additional information, visit our website:

SpaceRef staff editor.