Lockheed Martin to build THAAD interceptor ballistic missile defense rockets in $932.8 million order

March 25, 2020

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Missile defense experts at Lockheed Martin Corp. will build missile defense rocket interceptors for the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to protect against incoming ballistic missiles under terms of a $932.8 million order announced Tuesday.

Officials of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in Huntsville, Ala., are asking the Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control segment in Dallas to build Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors and associated one-shot devices.

THAAD is designed to shoot down short-, medium-, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase using a hit-to-kill kinetic warhead. The THAAD interceptor missile relies on the kinetic energy of the impact to destroy the incoming missile.

The system is a key element of the U.S. ballistic missile defense system to defend the continental United States, its deployed forces, friends, and allies against ballistic missiles of all ranges and in all phases of flight.

Related: Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne propulsion systems maneuver THAAD missile defense interceptors, destroying ballistic missile targets

THAAD consists of five major components: launchers, interceptors, a radar, THAAD fire control and communications (TFCC) units, and THAAD-specific support equipment.

Lockheed Martin started developing the THAAD system in 1992, and first tested the system three years later. The first THAAD tests that hit their targets were in 1999, after the first six ballistic missile defense tests missed. THAAD missiles, which have a maximum range of about 125 miles, are expected to hit incoming ballistic missile warheads as high as 93 miles above the Earth's surface.

THAAD uses an X-band radar from the Raytheon Co. Integrated Air Defense segment in Andover, Mass. Other key subcontractors are Boeing, Aerojet, Rocketdyne, Honeywell, BAE Systems, and Milton CAT. Deployment of the THAAD system began in 2008, and is nearing completion.

Related: Pentagon pulls plug on Boeing's multibillion-dollar Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV) ballistic interceptor

Monday's order is a modification to a $273.5 million contract awarded originally in March 2017 for THAAD Lot 9 interceptors and one-shot devices. Since then Lockheed Martin received modifications on this contract for THAAD interceptors that include $553.2 million order in December 2017; a $459.2 million order in January 2018; a $145.3 million order in May 2018; and Monday's $2.5 billion order, which increased the contract's value from $1.4 billion to $3.9 billion.

On Monday's order Lockheed Martin will do the work in Dallas; Sunnyvale, Calif.; Huntsville and Troy, Ala.; and Camden, Ark., and should be finished by April 2026.

For more information contact Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control online at www.lockheedmartin.com, or the Missile Defense Agency at www.mda.mil.

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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