VIDEO LINK: Successful Shootdown of Scud-type Ballistic Missile with Details of THAAD System Operations
Standing for Theater High Altitude Area Defense, THAAD is a hit-to-kill, anti-missile missile system. This means the THAAD missile carries no on-board warhead, thus enhancing its speed and maneuverability. Targets are destroyed by direct collision at enromous relative velocity. An advanced American development project, currently in testing phase, THAAD is designed to destroy enemy missiles both inside and outside the atmosphere, providing the flexibility to engage weapons of mass destruction earlier in their trajectory.
Transportable by sea and air, THAAD is intended by the United States to defend against high altitude ballistic missile threats in conjunction with the PAC 3 system which defends against shorter range missile attack (known as the "two tiered system").
Successful flight tests took place in January and April of 2007, and the first order for the production of two complete THAAD units was placed in January, 2007. The THAAD became operational in mid-2009.