The Army has a third Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery, activated Oct. 24 in Ft. Bliss, Texas.

The THAAD system, produced by Lockheed Martin [LMT], is the first weapon system with both endo- and exoatmospheric  capability developed specifically to defend against ballistic missiles. The THAAD element provides upper-tier defense in the terminal phase segment of the Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) integrated Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). The advent of the third battery continues the thickening of the BMDS.

The new battery becomes part of the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, the Imperial Brigade.

“The activation of the third THAAD Battery, D/2 ADA, at Ft Bliss, is a significant step toward providing critical depth to the U.S. Army’s THAAD capabilities,” said Mat Joyce, Lockheed Martin Vice President and THAAD Program Manager. “Lockheed Martin is in the process of building the THAAD ground equipment for this battery and we are on schedule to deliver this equipment in mid FY2013. “

Joyce added that the Oct. 25 FTI-01 flight test event conducted by MDA “highlighted how well-trained and prepared the current THAAD Soldiers are and we look forward to supporting the Soldiers of D/2 ADA as they begin training in preparation to assume their own operational missions.”