Designed just outside of Dallas, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) was created at the Lockheed Martin Missiles in Grand Prairie at the same facility where the Patriot missile defense system, made famous during the First Gulf War, was produced.
A major component of the THAAD system constructed at facilities in Brownsville and Corpus Christi is a special detection system known as X-Band Radar – a tower standing more than 20 stories tall, with a large dome at the top.
Stationed primarily at Fort Bliss in El Paso, home of the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, the THAAD system is currently undergoing testing, but Pentagon brass are reportedly showing confidence in its capability as a missile defense platform.
The X-Band Radar is designed to track incoming missiles, while the THAAD system launches anti-missile artillery to shoot them down.
When the radar picks up an incoming missile, the personnel working on the tower determine what type of missile or projectile is on its way.
They then send a signal to a portable launcher, which fires a projectile Lockheed Martin labels as an “interceptor” meant to strike missile at high speed, without the need for explosives.
Kinetic energy blows it apart.
Despite the escalating threat, Pentagon officials claim the tests of the new system are not related to the recent escalation of North Korea’s missile tests, including their efforts to build an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.