posted on Aug, 21 2004 @ 06:00 AM
Army officials have discovered that thier THAAD system may offer some ability to intercept ICBM. The system was initialy designed to intercept short
and medium range ballistic missiles.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - U.S. missile defense developers have discovered that the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, designed to destroy
short- and medium-range ballistic missiles in their final stages of flight, will also be capable of shooting down longer-range targets.
At the seventh annual space and missile defense conference here, Army Col. Charles Driessnack, THAAD's program manager, said in a speech late Aug. 18
and at a press briefing Aug. 19 that recent tests of the system's Raytheon-built radar have shown that THAAD will have a "residual" capability
against intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
"We weren't planning to have the ICBM capability," but the radar is "outperforming what we thought it was supposed to do," Driessnack said.
Driessnack said the program plans to start demonstrating the entire system's anti-ICBM capability in about fiscal 2009, after THAAD has been
flight-tested against shorter-range threats.
Although the U.S. Missile Defense Agency has been seeking to develop a "layered" defense to defeat ballistic missiles in all phases of flight, its
efforts against ICBMs have tended to focus on earlier phases than the terminal phase that THAAD is supposed to address. The Ground-based Midcourse
Defense (GMD) system, slated for an initial fielding this fall, is designed to destroy long-range missiles in the midcourse phase, and the new Kinetic
Energy Interceptor (KEI) program focuses on threats in the boost phase, though MDA has said KEI may eventually have a capability in other phases as
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This is a great discovery for the missile defence program. As stated in the article, ICBM defence has focused on inital intercept and boost phase,
the THAAD system could help with the defence in depth concept as a last ditch defence in case an ICBM is lobbed our way.
[edit on 21-8-2004 by John bull 1]