Terminal Defense Segment (TDS)
The Terminal Defense Segment (TDS) provides defensive capabilities that engage and destroy threatening ballistic missiles in the terminal phase of their trajectory. The primary elements in the TDS are the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, PAC-3 (Patriot Advanced Capability-3), the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), and a sea-based terminal defense capability. PAC-3, the Missile Defense Agency's (MDA) most mature developmental product line, takes advantage of a significant Patriot legacy of force structure, against short- and medium-range ballistic missile threats as well as cruise missiles, anti-radiation missiles, and advanced aircraft. PAC-3, a "hit-to-kill" interceptor, has achieved a better than 90 percent success rate in its developmental test phase. Operational tests are still being analyzed and a production decision is expected in the near future. We anticipate that allies who have Patriot in their forces will also field the new round.
The Sea-Based Terminal program, which is intended to build on a strong AEGIS (advanced shipboard anti-air warfare area defense) Weapon System and Standard Missile infrastructure, remains a critical requirement despite cancellation of the Navy Area Program (Standard Missile-2 Block IV A). The program will provide missile defense for forward-deployed wartime expeditionary assets. Experiments are planned that are aimed at expanding the mission envelope of today's Standard Missile-2, Block IV, and the new Standard Missile-3 to determine the suitability of this combination of interceptors in providing this capability.
Finally, the tri-national (United States-Germany-Italy) MEADS will offer a significant improvement in tactical mobility and strategic deployability over comparable missile systems, and robust, 360-degree protection for maneuvering forces and other critical forward-deployed assets against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and other air-breathing threats throughout all phases of tactical operations. MEADS initially will replace aging air defense systems (like Improved Hawk) but, in the longer term, will begin to replace Patriot as the latter reaches the end of its operational life.
The mission of the THAAD System is to defend against short-to-intermediate range ballistic missiles at long ranges and high altitudes. THAAD's capability will protect U.S. and allied armed forces, broadly dispersed assets, and population centers against missile attacks. The Arrow Weapon System (AWS) (a U.S.-supported Israeli development program) provides Israel today with a capability to defend against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|