Lockheed Martin-Led THAAD Team Achieves Second Target Missile Intercept
WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, NM, August 2nd, 1999 -- White Sands Missile Range, NM, August 2, 1999 - For the second time in less than two months, the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon system, managed by Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space, intercepted a target missile over White Sands Missile Range, NM. The successful test, conducted by the U.S. Army, Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) and a contractor team led by Missiles & Space, moves the vital defensive missile system one step closer toward deployment.
"We are absolutely thrilled with the successful outcome of today's THAAD flight test, which further validates the feasibility of hit-to-kill technology," said Thomas A. Corcoran, president and chief operating officer, Lockheed Martin Space & Strategic Missiles Sector. "It is a critical accomplishment in moving toward Engineering and Manufacturing Development, the next step in getting this urgently needed defensive missile system into the hands of our soldiers."
The intercept occurred outside the earth's atmosphere, over the central portion of the national missile range. The target, which differed from previous THAAD flight tests, simulated a Scud ballistic missile with a separating warhead. This success marks a critical milestone for the program, as it was the first intercept of a simulated Scud missile outside the earth's atmosphere that presented a separating warhead target.
All segments of the THAAD weapon system were successfully integrated during the flight test. These systems included the radar, Battle Management Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence (BM/C3I), launcher and missile.
"The entire THAAD team - from Lockheed Martin to our government customer - has worked together to demonstrate extraordinary capabilities that truly exemplify the meaning of perseverance," Corcoran said. "This success validates the initiatives we have taken by embracing the brightest minds in the industry and strengthening the internal management and processes on this vital defensive missile program. It is a tribute to every contributor on the THAAD team."
Today's test was the eleventh in a planned series of THAAD Program Definition Risk Reduction flight tests to verify the THAAD prototype design and performance of system components.
"By achieving a target intercept, under a more stressing flight test scenario, we have been able to obtain the final missile design information required to move this program forward," said THAAD Vice President Ed Squires.
Corcoran added, "We are committed from the highest levels of the Corporation to mission success on THAAD and we will not be deterred from our goal of moving on to the next phase of this program."
Previous flight tests have: *verified the ability of the missile's guidance and control system to process radar-provided target information; *proven the design of the Palletized Load System launcher, the solid rocket motor, the THAAD radar, and BMC3I system; *validated the THAAD Energy Management Steering maneuver, which allows the missile to reduce speed immediately after it leaves the canister to remain within range safety constraints.
For Lockheed Martin, THAAD represents the culmination of several decades of development and testing activities conducted under earlier BMDO programs -- including the Homing Overlay Experiment and the Exo-atmospheric Re-entry Interceptor Subsystem. Technologies such as body-to-body intercept and target tracking and characterization originally conceived and developed under these programs have been applied to THAAD so the U.S. Army can field a robust, flexible and mobile theater missile defense.
THAAD is the first weapon system being designed specifically to defend U.S. and allied soldiers, military assets and population centers from the threat of a theater ballistic missile attack, both inside and outside the atmosphere. To achieve the lethality required to defeat weapons of mass destruction, the THAAD system destroys the target through direct, "hit-to-kill" impact. This technology employs mass and velocity in lieu of explosive warheads.
The program is managed by the BMDO and is executed by the U.S. Army Program Executive Office, Air and Missile Defense, and the U.S. Army THAAD Project Manager in Huntsville, AL.
Missiles & Space, based in Sunnyvale, CA, is an operating unit of Lockheed Martin's Space & Strategic Missile Sector headquartered in Bethesda, MD. The company designs, develops, tests and manufactures a variety of advanced technology systems for space and defense. Primary products of Missiles & Space include missile defense systems, fleet ballistic missiles and spacecraft for commercial and government customers.