The Army and the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) activated the second Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Battery recently in a ceremony at Fort Bliss, Texas. The A-2 Battery consists of approximately 100 Soldiers in the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, of the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command.

Lockheed Martin [LMT] is the prime contractor and systems integrator for the THAAD Weapon System.

The activation signifies the continued integration of THAAD into the U.S. Army’s Air and Missile Defense force structure. Unit training on the second THAAD Battery is underway with equipment hardware deliveries slated to occur within a year.

“Lockheed Martin is proud to be a part of this important THAAD weapon system milestone for the U.S. Army and the Missile Defense Agency,” said Tom McGrath, Lockheed Martin’s vice president and program manager for the THAAD system. “THAAD provides an upper tier overlay to the nation’s currently deployed air and missile defense units that will greatly increase the quality of protection for our troops, allies and friends around the globe,” McGrath said.

The first THAAD Battery, A-4, was activated at Ft. Bliss in May 2008. These soldiers are currently undergoing Field Exercise Training on the THAAD system and will be fully operational within a year.

The A-2 Battery is on schedule to receive THAAD interceptors, launchers, fire control units and a THAAD radar as part of the initial fielding.

A production contract for the first two fire units was awarded to Lockheed Martin in late 2006. The THAAD launcher and fire control and communications unit is produced at Lockheed Martin’s manufacturing facility in Camden, Ark. Interceptor production is conducted at Lockheed Martin’s Pike County Facility in Troy, Ala.

THAAD is the only land-based air and missile defense system with the operational flexibility to operate in both the endo- and exo-atmospheres. Since 2005 the program has conducted 11 successful flight tests including 6 for 6 successful intercepts of both unitary and separating targets. The last flight test, conducted in March 2009, was the first salvo mission, with two THAAD interceptors successfully launched against a single separating target. Additional testing is scheduled this year and will continue through 2011.

A key element of the nation’s Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS), THAAD is a Missile Defense Agency program, with the program office located in Huntsville, Ala.The agency is developing a BMDS to defend the United States, its deployed forces, friends and allies against ballistic missiles of all ranges and in all phases of flight.