Skip to comments.Lockheed Martin's THAAD Missile Successful in Developmental Flight Test
Posted on 11/28/2005 9:00:08 AM PST by Dont_Tread_On_Me_888
DALLAS, TX, November 22, 2005 --
Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] successfully conducted a developmental flight test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile today at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), NM. This was the first flight of the Block 04 missile that is being tested under an Engineering and Manufacturing contract awarded to Lockheed Martin in 2000.
The test completed today starts a new round of THAAD developmental testing that builds on the investment from earlier THAAD tests, which included two consecutive target intercepts in 1999.
Todays test was designed to evaluate the missile during fly-out, as well as demonstrate and collect data on missile control. No target was involved in the test. Preliminary data indicates all test objectives were achieved.
Some of the specific objectives of this test included evaluating how the missile exited the canister, booster and kill vehicle separation, kill vehicle control, and operation of the divert and attitude control system (DACS). Although the complete THAAD system includes a radar, fire control, launchers and missiles, todays test was of the missile only.
This is a great day for the warfighter, our customer and the entire THAAD team as we move a step closer toward making this system's unique capabilities available for operational use, said Tom McGrath, Lockheed Martin program manager and vice president for THAAD. The THAAD team has prepared for this initial developmental flight test for a long time, and we remain focused on building on this momentum as we plan and prepare for future tests.
THAAD is designed to defend U.S. troops, allied forces, population centers and critical infrastructure against threat ballistic missiles, said Mike Trotsky, vice president - Air and Missile Defense programs at Lockheed Martin. THAADs unique endo- and exo-atmospheric capability enlarges the battle space to allow multiple intercept opportunities in both the late-midcourse and terminal phases of ballistic missile trajectories. This flexibility provides added protection with layered coverage.
The THAAD missile uses hit-to-kill technology to destroy short, medium and intermediate range ballistic missiles that can carry weapons of mass destruction. THAAD can accept cues from the sea-based Aegis system, satellites and other external sensors to further extend the battle space and defended area coverage. THAAD was designed to provide upper-tier, layered coverage and operate in concert with the lower-tier PAC-3 Missile system. A key element of the nation's Ballistic Missile Defense System, THAAD is a Missile Defense Agency program.
We approached the start of flight testing very systematically, including an extensive ground test program and complete qualification of the missile and its components, said Tory Bruno, Lockheed Martin vice president for the THAAD missile. This disciplined approach paid off today, and our entire team of employees and subcontractors was singularly focused on achieving mission success.
THAADs next flight test will launch a missile with all elements of the integrated weapon system engaged and operating. The next four THAAD flight tests will be conducted at WSMR. After those flights, the test program will move to Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, HI, where range space allows THAAD to fly increasingly longer and more complex missions.
BROADCAST MEDIA: Video of todays THAAD flight will be available from 4:00 p.m. to 4:10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) for downlink via satellite IA6, K13 analog transponder, downlink frequency 11957 vertical, audio 6.2 and 6.8. Trouble hotline is 915-544-8837. News media point of contact for the video downlink is Pam Rogers, MDA Communications, at (256) 503-3726.
Lockheed Martin is prime contractor and systems integrator for the THAAD missile defense system. Major subcontractors on the program include: Raytheon Co., radar; Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Inc., divert and attitude control system (DACS); Honeywell, mission computer and inertial measurement unit (IMU); BAE Systems, infrared seeker; Aerojet-General Corporation, missile booster; Hamilton Sundstrand, thrust vector assembly; and Pacific Scientific, laser initiated ordnance system.
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 defense system. 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 135,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2004 sales of $35.5 billion.
The problem is the incredible spending on global and domestic welfare. Bush is asking the military to scrape up all possible ways to cut the military budget to help support the incredible social welfare spending both here and for foreign nations.
It is incredible that we have Iran and North Korea developing nukes, and missile technology is already very advanced with these nations. China is swamping the USA in military growth and modernization. Yet with all this, Bush has become the biggest spender on global and domestic welfare in the hsitory of the world. That is fact, not hyperbole.
We must, as conservatives, do what we can to reverse this social welfare binge and insist that our nation focus on the defense of our nation, not charity for dictators.
Note: before anybody says "but we are spending $XXX billions . . .", the majority of that Defense budget is NOT going to R&D and procurement. It is going for payroll, benefits, and logistics and to the war. Our potential enemies are spending their budgets on procurement and R&D. We must get our "leaders" to change their focus from global dogooders to protectors of our nation.
Approx $191 million is allocated to Fort Wainwright and Eielson AFB to build approx 250 family housing units. These numbers can't be right, can they?
Excellent comments. We must convert some folks but we are mostly believers here.
FACT: Clinton held back the funding for this for the eight years they occupied the White House.
You are right. We are spending much less on developing systems like this than we should be and our ability to spend larger sums on the defense of our liberty is constrained by our gargantuan social giveaway programs.
Yep, I was working for Hughes Aircraft pre-Clinton when this was first on the drawing boards. The technology base was pretty substantial even then, but progress was slowed as you described. My question, is why use hit to kill? It demands high precision. I suspect that there are other methods which do not require such high quality target acquisition and may be cheaper to implement, given the easier requirements. That said, glad to hear we are making progress - this should make the Chicoms think twice.
Sorry, ballistic missile defense can never work, the Democrats told me so......better to leave the USA wide open and vulnerable. /sarcasm
The number of cutbacks and scale backs and outright cancelation of major weapon systems, e.g., the F-22, the DD(X), Seawolf, Crusader, JSF, etc, dwarfs the number of successful ABM tests.
The USA is like a giant sponge. All dictators and nations are free to squeeze us to see how much of our national treasury can flow their way.
It has been clear from Bush's first day that he is more interested in charitable giving to Africa than vigorously developing an ABM system.
Russia has developed a maneuverable warhead on top their TOPOL-M and we have no defense agains that. Bush's answer was to cut back our military bases, eliminate the Joint Strike Fighter (that is coming, folks), and send $5 billion more to the UN for the "Millenium Fund".
Perhaps laser-energy systems may overtake this soon?
The ABL must be in the air to drop incoming missiles, but they have their place. I doubt they will replace this system. This is stationary (more or less), but incredibly, phenomenally, unspeakably well suited to the job at hand.
Had Bush not spent $15 billion to Africa and all the other incredible welfare giveaways, charity and "aid" (including to terrorist nations) both globally and domesticaly, we could be well on our way to a highly advanced ABM system.
Our Commander in Chief needs to shift his priorities around so the Defense of the USA is #1.
This is simply not the case. Kinetic kill is the only possible engineering solution outside of beam weapons and similar. Most people really do not have a grasp of just how extreme the closing velocities are.
This question comes up repeatedly, under the assumption that it is a stupid design choice. The engineers that develop these things are not stupid and often quite brilliant. The reason it must be a kinetic kill is simple: the relative velocities of the objects are so high that anything short of a direct physical impact will be a total miss. You cannot use explosives because the detonation velocity of the explosives, never mind the blast wave, is slower than the closing velocity of the objects. Compared to the mechanical motion of the objects, a high-explosive detonation is moving in slow motion and therefore useless; the explosion would not leave its own casing until the opposing object is long gone.
By analogy, using an explosive to knock down a projectile at those velocities would be like a person trying to use a baseball bat to swat a rifle bullet fired at them. There is no way for a human (or explosive) to have the reaction speed required.
Didn't the Soviets deploy nuclear-tipped ABMs?
I guess they took Missile Command seriously. :P
I was on the initial THAAD program at the Lazy L. I was one of only two individuals with Army background. Most were from the SLBM house and they didn't take any consideration for how the Army would deploy this. Very frustrating, but I am glad they are making progress.
I don't know, but I think we may have at one time.
The same problem still remains with nuclear ABM actually. Unless the neutron/gamma flux manages to kill the incoming vehicle (and most such vehicles are pretty hard by nature), the nuclear explosion does not have the velocity or dwell time to have much of a chance of killing a hypersonic projectile.
Note that this is why most of our next generation weapons are hyperkinetic: no conceivable armor will withstand them, they deliver many times more energy on target than explosives, the time-to-target is insanely short, the range is unusually long, and the only way to stop them is kinetic intercept -- a difficult technology that we've developed into a fine art. The US having a hyperkinetic weapons platform and broad kinetic intercept capability will put its military on a qualitatively different plane of conventional warfare than any other military as it will effectively obsolete all current military technologies, including the ones used by the US.
I was thinking of the same method employed by the Soviet ASAT system - nukes.
A couple problems with that:
1.) Nukes suffer similar problems in efficacy that conventional explosives do for this application, and
2.) Using nukes for endo-atmospheric terminal intercept is going to be kind of unpleasant for the soldiers you are nominally protecting.
Unless you got a gamma/neutron kill (improbable) a nuke would not work much better than a conventional explosive proximity intercept, but with a lot of very negative side effects.
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