THAAD's Right!


The Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, better known as THAAD, has had a checkered past. Now, however, with a recent test success under its belt, its future appears increasingly rosy, according to today's Inside the Army:Stomp Rocket.jpg

At the request of combatant commanders, the Missile Defense Agency is expediting the testing and fielding of its Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system to get the capability into soldiers hands two years sooner than expected, according to Army Col. Charles Driessnack, the agencys project manager.Under the MDAs previous THAAD schedule, the missile defense capability would be deployable worldwide in fiscal year 2012, Driessnack told reporters here Aug. 16 at the Armys annual Space and Missile Defense conference.However, when combatant commanders began screaming that they wanted to get the capability to the field as quickly as possible, the agency formulated a plan to run testing activities concurrently, to shave two years off the program -- placing the system in the field at the end of FY-09 or in early FY-10, Driessnack added.
Remind anyone of anything?Back in the 1990s, the Pentagon tested THAAD many times, with results so poor the program was on death's door. Two late and highly tailored tests led to intercepts and a decision to move the program forward into its next phase, where the missile was essentially overhauled.It was back then that the phrase "rush to failure" entered the national security lexicon via a much-ballyhooed report on missile defense. Led by a retired Air Force four-star, Gen. Larry Welch, the report had this to say on THAAD and a companion effort:
These programs are pursuing very aggressive schedules, but these schedules are not supported by the state of planning and testing.
Testing beginning next year in the Pacific will be the real gague of how far THAAD has come.UPDATED 08/22/06: More missile defense news -- free! -- here.UPDATED (AGAIN) 08/25/06: The Missile Defense Agency's director says "a congressional proposal to accelerate testing of ballistic missile defense assets would be counterintuitive and could cost taxpayers more in the long run." Full story here.-- Dan Dupont
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