Strategic Weapons: THAAD Goes Into Production

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January18, 2007: The U.S. Army has ordered the missiles, launchers and ground control equipment for the first two THAAD (Theater High Altitude Air Defense) batteries (or "firing units"). Each battery will have 24 missiles, three launchers and a fire control communications system. This will include an X-Band radar. The gear for each battery will cost $310 million. The 18 foot long THAAD missiles weigh 1,400 pounds each. This is about the same size as the Patriot anti-aircraft missile, but twice the weight of the anti-missile version of the Patriot. The range of THAAD is 200 kilometers, max altitude is 150 kilometers, and it is intended for short (like SCUD) or medium range (up to 2,000 kilometer) range ballistic missiles. THAAD has been in development for two decades. Ultimately, the army would like to buy at least 18 launchers, 1,400 missiles, and 18 radars. THAAD is bleeding edge technology, and aside from some successful tests, the system has to wait until it gets some combat experience before it is accepted and trusted. Testing continues, and these first two combat batteries can be deployed in potential hot spots (like South Korea and the Persian Gulf.

 


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