BAE Systems to build next-gen seeker for THAAD missile defense systems

Lockheed Martin, which builds the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense weapon system for the U.S. Army, has awarded BAE Systems a contract to design and manufacture a next-generation seeker for the system’s interceptors, according to a BAE announcement posted March 17.

The THAAD is a long range missile defense system capable of intercepting ballistic missiles in the earth’s exoatmospheric zone, destroying the reentry vehicle of ballistic missile before it enters the atmosphere. The THAAD has been delivered to the US Army and deployed in South Korea to shield US forces from North Korean missiles.

“The sensor design work will improve the missile defense system’s ability to neutralize more threats and improve its manufacturability,” the statement read. The company did not disclose the contract amount or timelines to develop a design.

The THAAD weapon system is part of the Army’s layered approach to missile defense, now with its ability to defeat ballistic missile threats in the terminal phase of flight, but the Missile Defense Agency also wants to make it part of its future homeland defense architecture.

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BAE already provides the seeker for the THAAD system, which uses infrared imagery to guide the interceptors to threat targets, and the company has delivered more than 500 THAAD seekers to date, according to the statement.

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