"[Arms Control Today] has become indispensable! I think it is the combination of the critical period we are in and the quality of the product. I found myself reading the May issue from cover to cover."

– Frank von Hippel
Co-Director of Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University
June 1, 2018
THAAD Achieves First Intercept

With its future on the line after six test failures, the Army's Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system successfully intercepted a Scud-like ballistic missile target for the first time June 10 at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. In a special news briefing that same day, Brigadier General Richard Davis of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization said, "With the successful Patriot PAC-3 intercept in March of 1999, the United States now has successfully demonstrated hit-to-kill intercepts for a two-tier system."

THAAD, the most mature of the "upper-tier" theater missile defense (TMD) systems, must achieve two more intercepts before it is able to proceed into the pre-production "engineering, manufacturing and development phase." Lockheed Martin, the system's prime contractor, faced a $15 million penalty for the March 29 THAAD failure and may be hit with an additional $20 million fine if the system fails in its upcoming intercept test, likely to be held in July.

The United States has spent about $3.8 billion on THAAD since its development began in 1992. Under the Pentagon's competitive upper-tier TMD strategy, announced by Defense Secretary William Cohen in January, the United States hopes to deploy either THAAD or its sea-based counterpart, Navy Theater Wide, by 2007.