Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), formerly Theater High Altitude Area Defense, is an American anti-ballistic missile defense system.
After a failed test in February, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and the Army successfully intercepted a target in an Oct. 1 test using a Patriot air and missile defense system as well as a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, system integrated together, according to an MDA statement.
In the test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, the THAAD AN/TPY-2 radar detected and tracked a Black Dagger target missile and provided that information to the Patriot system. The Patriot launch system deployed a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement missile and destroyed the target.
In February, the AN/TPY-2 detected and tracked a Black Dagger and supplied the information to the Patriot system, but the missile missed the target “due to an interceptor software upgrade error,” according to the MDA statement.
The error “has since been corrected, as demonstrated by today’s successful intercept,” the statement noted.
The success of the test “validates the interoperability of the Patriot and THAAD weapon systems,” MDA Director Vice Adm. Jon Hill said in the statement. “This capability is vital to the Ballistic Missile Defense System to defend against rogue threats to our homeland, deployed forces and allies.”
Last year, the first-ever test of THAAD’s ability to remotely fire an interceptor was a success, a significant milestone in proving the ability to decouple launchers from radars and fire control systems.
The Army’s work to integrate the Patriot and THAAD systems was born out of an urgent operational need on the Korean Peninsula.
The ability to use the THAAD radar also gets more out of the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement weapon fired from Patriot units, which outperforms the organic Patriot radar.