The US Army has activated its second defensive weapon terminal high-altitude area defence (THAAD) battery system at Fort Bliss Texas.

THAAD is the only defensive weapon specifically designed to intercept incoming ballistic missiles inside and just outside the Earth’s atmosphere.

As an element of the integrated ballistic missile defence system, the battery provides protection to deployed troops and other important assets from short to medium-range ballistic missiles in the terminal or final phase of flight.

The battery consists of THAAD interceptors, launchers, a fire control and communications unit and radar.

The activation followed several years of rigorous testing, designed to push the system into increasingly stressful and operationally realistic scenarios.

THAAD was developed by the US Missile Defense Agency, a joint service organisation within the Department of Defense. First THAAD battery was activated at Fort Bliss in May 2008.