Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile

The US Missile Defense Agency (mda) has awarded a foreign military sales (FMS) contract to Lockheed Martin to supply two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile interceptors to the UAE.

The $1.96bn award is an initial instalment of a $3.48bn agreement signed between the two nations for the first FMS sale of THAAD, and also includes the supply of additional maintenance and support equipment from 30 December 2011 to 30 June 2016.

The Pentagon is soon to announce further options of the contract that is expected to deliver a total of 96 missiles, two anti-missile batteries, AN/TPY-2 radars, training and logistics for a period of 30 years.

Pentagon press secretary George Little said: "Acquisition of this critical defence system will bolster the UAE’s air and missile defence capability and enhance the already robust ballistic missile defence cooperation between the US and the UAE."

The THAAD missile system is designed to intercept and destroy short, medium and intermediate ballistic missiles using hit-to-kill technology and is capable of engaging ballistic missiles at both endo and exo-atmospheric altitude.

The weapon system consists of launchers, missiles, battle management/command, control, communications and intelligence (BMC3I) units and radars; unlike traditional missiles, it uses kinetic energy to directly hit and destroy the enemy target.

The missile interceptors will be produced in Alabama and the fire control equipment and launchers will be manufactured in Arkansas, US.

The radars and missile mission computer will be provided by Raytheon and Honeywell respectively, while Aerojet and BAE Systems will develop the rocket motor and missile seeker.

THAAD is a key element of the US Ballistic Missile Defence System (BMDS) and is designed to defend the nation and its deployed forces and allies against ballistic missile threats of all ranges during all phases of flight.

Image Caption: Lockheed to supply THAAD weapon system for UAE to defend against incoming threats including tactical and theatre ballistic missiles.