UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Lyles Announces THAAD Program Changes 
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
21 July 1998
WASHINGTON -- DoD hopes to overcome a series of failures and get 
the Theater High-Altitude Area Defense missile system back on 
track for fielding in fiscal 2006, the department's top missile 
defense official said July 9.
The Theater High-Altitude Area Defense missile program came 
about following U.S. experience in Desert Storm, Air Force Lt. 
Gen. Lester Lyles, director of the Ballistic Missile Defense 
Organization, said at a press conference. The U.S. Patriot 
missile system performed well during the war against Iraqi Scud 
missiles launched at coalition troops and Israel, but more 
needed to be done, he said.
THAAD is part of the Theater Missile Defense system, which also 
includes Patriot III, Navy's Theater Wide and Area defense 
systems, and the Medium Extended Air Defense System. A Battle 
Management/Command, Control and Communications element will tie 
together all the parts.
The last five THAAD flight tests failed, but each for different 
reasons. A short circuit in the missile's thrust vector control 
mechanism caused the most recent failure, on May 12, Lyles said. 
He said all other components of the system -- the launcher, 
battle management element and the radar -- have worked well. 
"THAAD is meant to address a growing threat to our troops," 
Lyles said. "We desperately need to have this capability to 
support our warfighters." He told reporters he'd examined 
failure analysis records and met with contractor and DoD 
"I am confident we will be able to get a capability to support 
the troops, and we are trying to make it as close to the 
original fielding date as we possibly can," he said.
"However, we're not naive," he said. "Obviously, we realize the 
heart of the THAAD is the bullet. [It's] the thing that really 
makes missile defense a success and what missile defense is all 
about. We're committed to making the THAAD missile work."
Following the May failure, Lyles' office sent a cure notice to 
the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin Corp. The notice is a 
statement of dissatisfaction with contract performance.
Lockheed Martin replied it intends to change the organization of 
the project, and it brought in a troubleshooter to oversee the 
test flight program. The company also set up five review teams 
to examine all program processes involving quality control, 
reliability control, manufacturing, testing and so forth. It 
also called on competitor Raytheon Corp. for help in examining 
data from the failed tests.
Lyles said his organization and Lockheed Martin are negotiating 
arrangements toward sharing costs associated with THAAD missile 
tests. He said the next test flight will be sometime in the 
"We want to complete all the failure analysis first to make sure 
we understand any corrective actions that might be necessary," 
he said. "The bottom line is, we're going to fly when we're 
ready to fly."

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list