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THAAD System Development and Demonstration

By the end of 2012 all planned THAAD Build 1.0 capabilities have not yet been demonstrated. The most significant example is that the performance of the system using the radar advanced algorithm against a complex target has not been scheduled for test until FY14. The algorithm has been implemented in the operational software, but THAAD flight test profiles prior to FY14 are not expected to trigger demonstration of it. Redesign and retesting of a number of components are required to address all of the Army materiel release conditions imposed before full materiel release can be granted. In particular, many reliability improvements are required to meet Army requirements with confidence.

The Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system intercepted two short-range targets nearly simultaneously in October 2011. The program completed this multiple simultaneous intercept as part of an IOT&E, which included a full battle sequence from planning through intercept under operationally realistic conditions. DOT&E concluded that the IOT&E demonstrated THAAD is operationally effective, operationally suitable, and survivable against the threats and in the environments tested. The THAAD system successfully intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile target for the first time in October 2012.

The THAAD program conducted two successful intercept attempts in 1999 after devoting substantial time to pretest activities. The program then transitioned to the product development phase of acquisition, in which program activities shifted from technology development and demonstration to missile redesign and engineering. "Product development" is referred to by DOD as the "System Development and Demonstration" phase of acquisition and formerly as "Engineering and Manufacturing Development."

As of 2005 the element's first test, a control test flight of the missile (non-intercept attempt), was planned to be conducted in the third quarter of fiscal year 2005, a two-quarter slip. The element's first intercept attempt, Flight Test 4, was scheduled to be conducted during the second quarter of fiscal year 2006, a two-quarter slip. Two explosions in the summer of 2003 at a subcontractor's propellant mixing facility delayed the start of flight testing from December 2004 to March 2005 and led to revisions of the program's flight test plan. Compared to test plans of fiscal year 2004, the THAAD program deferred two test events. A second control test flight conducted at WSMR - formerly FT-02 - and an intercept attempt against a threat-representative target at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) - formerly FT-05 - had been deferred to a later time.

A flight test delay that was indentified in 2005 lengthened in 2006. Because of unanticipated integration issues, the first flight test, which validated missile performance in a high endoatmospheric flight environment, was further delayed from March to November 2005. The delay occurred because program officials found problems with THAAD's Laser Initiated Ordnance System and its telemetry system during ground tests and assembly operations. The discovery of these problems delayed other ground tests and the assembly of the THAAD missile being manufactured for the first THAAD flight test.

As of 2006 THAAD program officials planned to conduct 14 more flight tests between April 2006 and December 2008. To complete these tests prior to handing the first THAAD fire unit over to the Army for concurrent operation and tests in 2009, the program will have to successfully conduct as many as 5 flight tests in each fiscal year.

  1. FTT-01 on 22 November 2005 demonstrated missile performance, divert attitude control system operations, and kill vehicle control in a successful missile-only flight test. The first flight test, referred to as a control test flight (CTF), is a missile-only, nonintercept test that focuses on how the missile operates under high endoatmospheric environmental conditions. The The THAAD program delayed the start of flight tests until the first quarter of fiscal year 2006. The THAAD Program Office expected to begin flight tests in June 2005. This first test was delayed until November 2005 because of unexpected integration problems. For example, one delay was caused by a tear in a filter in the missile's divert attitude control system. Program officials expect to recover the test schedule and conduct 14 flight tests before turning the first THAAD fire unit over to the Army in 2009 for operational use and testing. However, the test schedule is aggressive.
  2. April 2006 - Successfully integration of the entire THAAD Weapon System including launcher, interceptor, radar and fire control system - not a flight test.
  3. FTT-02 on 11 May 2006 test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Ballistic Missile Defense System element was successful in meeting all test objectives. The test took place at the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, and involved the successful launch of the THAAD interceptor missile from its mobile launcher, which demonstrated missile performance, divert attitude control system operations, and kill vehicle control. All planned test objectives were achieved. The second flight test is an integrated system test with a "virtual target" to demonstrate system performance under conditions comparable to the next flight test (first flight test utilizing a real target). This was a fully integrated flight test of all THAAD components, including the mobile launcher, radar, fire control and communications element and the interceptor missile. The test did not involve a target missile but utilized "virtual target" software in order to evaluate performance. The test also demonstrated interceptor performance, including the booster rocket system and the divert and attitude control system, which uses small rockets to maneuver THAAD into the path of its target to achieve a "hit-to-kill" intercept.
  4. FFT-03 on 12 July 2006 was the first successful THAAD intercept test in the current program at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. This successful seeker characterization flight test included the first target intercept attempt. The third flight test is a seeker characterization flight (SCF), which ensures proper functioning of the seeker. This SCF was a non-intercept test, but the seeker was to demonstrate the ability to view a real target. The seeker demonstrated the ability to locate a target in the high endo-atmosphere-the primary objective of the test - and successfully intercepted a target.
  5. FTT-04 was scheduled to be the program's first objective intercept attempt. On 13 September 2006 a flight test at White Sands was designated a 'no-test' when the HERA target malfunctioned shortly after launch and was destroyed by WSMR Range Safety before the interceptor was launched; excellent ground data was acquired. As a result of the malfunction, program officials were forced to declare flight test 4 a "no-test." Program officials planned to add the objectives from flight test 4 into a later flight test, which will allow them to gain the knowledge they initally planned on receiving from this test at a later date. THAAD officials expected to complete five flight tests prior to the end of fiscal year 2006 but were only able to conduct four tests.
  6. FTT-06 was successfully conducted 26 January 2007. This second successful THAAD intercept test in this series was a successful intercept of a unitary target in THAAD's first flight test at the PMRF. This test involved the successful intercept of a "high endo-atmospheric" (just inside earth's atmosphere) unitary (non-separating) target representing a "SCUD"-type ballistic missile launched from a mobile platform positioned off Kauai in the Pacific Ocean. The interceptor was launched from the THAAD launch complex at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF). This was the first test of the THAAD system at PMRF since equipment was moved to the range in October, 2006.
  7. FTT-07 was successfully conducted on 05 April 2007. The successful intercept test for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ballistic missile defense element was conducted at the Pacific Missile Range Facility off the island of Kauai in Hawaii. This test involved the successful intercept of a "mid endo-atmospheric" (inside earth's atmosphere) unitary (non-separating) target representing a "SCUD"-type ballistic missile launched from a mobile platform positioned off Kauai in the Pacific Ocean. The interceptor was launched from the THAAD launch complex at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. This was the third successful THAAD intercept in the current program phase.
  8. FTT-05 was successfully conducted on 26 June 2007. It was a successful missile-only flight test in low endo-atmosphere. The program had planned to conduct this fifth (missile only) flight test-to demonstrate the missile's performance in the low atmosphere in December 2006. However, due to reprioritization in test flights, the fifth flight test was re-scheduled for the second quarter of fiscal year 2007.
  9. FTT-08 was successfully conducted on 27 October 2007. This important test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System was successfully completed at approximately 3:15 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (approximately 9:15 p.m. Friday Hawaii Standard Time), resulting in the intercept of a ballistic missile target at the Pacific Missile Range Facility off the island of Kauai in Hawaii. Preliminary indications are that planned flight test objectives were achieved. The intercept involved the "exo-atmospheric" (outside earth's atmosphere) "hit to kill" destruction of a unitary (non-separating) target representing a "SCUD"-type ballistic missile launched from a mobile platform positioned off Kauai in the Pacific Ocean. The interceptor was launched from the THAAD launch complex at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. This was the fourth successful intercept for the current THAAD program in four tests and the third test of the THAAD system at Pacific Missile Range Facility.
  10. FTT-09 BX07 2Q FY 2008 - 3Q FY 2008 . Endo intercept of separating target
  11. FTT-10 BX07 4Q FY 2008 - 1Q FY 2009 . Salvo exo intercept of separating target unconstrained (DT/OT mission)
  12. FTT-11 BX07 2Q FY 2009 - 3Q FY 2009 . Exo atmospheric intercept of a lofted spin-stabilized reoriented separating target (slipped one quarter due to target availability)
  13. Flight Test THAAD Interceptor-12 (FTT-12) IOT&E occurred in October 2011. The test was a multiple simultaneous engagement of two short-range targets. This test supported materiel release of the first two THAAD batteries and future Beyond Low-Rate Initial Production decisions. The THAAD battery performed battle planning, overseas deployment, emplacement, and mission operations under operationally realistic conditions within the constraints of test range safety. The THAAD battery also conducted additional simulated intercept events against a raid, defeating threats generated by the Simulation Over Live Driver (SOLD).
  14. The combined developmental/operational Flight Test Integrated-01 (FTI-01) in October 2012 included a THAAD engagement against a medium-range target for the first time. The test evaluated interoperability between THAAD; Aegis BMD; Patriot; Command, Control, Battle Management, and Communications (C2BMC); and AN/TPY-2 Forward-Based Mode (FBM) elements with multiple live targets. Initial assessment from the FTI-01 test mission data indicated that the THAAD system successfully intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile target.
  15. Ground Test Integrated-04 Israel (GTI-04 ISR) in November 2011, Ground Test Other-04e (GTX-04e) in April 2012, Fast Eagle Increment 1 Hardware-In-The-Loop (HWIL) in June 2012, and GTI-04e in November 2012 included laboratory HWIL representations of THAAD. Interoperability, engagement coordination between the theater elements, and engagement capabilities against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles were tested using BMDS configurations that are deployed or nearing deployment.



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