Fort Bliss to send air defense battery to Guam in light of heigthened North Korean tensions

EL PASO, Texas - Fort Bliss officials confirm to ABC-7 that a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System battery from the post will be deploying to Guam.

The Department of Defense in a news release states this is a precautionary move to strengthen the U.S.'s regional defense posture against the North Korean regional ballistic missile threat.

The THAAD system is a land-based missile defense system that includes a truck-mounted launcher, a complement of interceptor missiles, an AN/TPY-2 tracking radar, and an integrated fire control system. This deployment will strengthen defense capabilities for American citizens in the U.S. Territory of Guam and U.S. forces stationed there, according to the Department of Defense.

The United States continues to urge the North Korean leadership to cease provocative threats and choose the path of peace by complying with its international obligations.

There are two THAAD batteries stationed at Fort Bliss.

More info on THAAD from Sept. 2012

In Aug. 2012, Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the THAAD, was awarded a $150 million contract that includes 12 launchers, two fire control and communications units, and associated support equipment.

This contract will provide six launchers for THAAD Battery 5 and an additional three launchers each to Batteries 1 and 2.

These deliveries will bring all Batteries to the standard six launcher configuration.   Ground hardware from this award will be delivered to Fort Bliss. A production contract for the first two Batteries was awarded to Lockheed Martin in late 2006.  Contracts for Batteries 3 and 4 were awarded in 2011.

Since 2005, the THAAD program has successfully completed 12 flight tests, with nine-for-nine intercepts. The latest mission was an operational test conducted at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii, by THAAD soldiers from Alpha-4 (A-4), 11th Air Defense Artillery Imperial Brigade of the 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command. During that mission, two THAAD interceptors destroyed two different targets.

THAAD is the only missile defense system with the operational flexibility to intercept in both the endo- and exo-atmospheres to provide versatile capability to the warfighter.  A key element of the nation's Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS), THAAD is a Missile Defense Agency program, with the program office located in Huntsville, Ala.  The agency is developing the BMDS to defend the United States, its deployed forces and allies against short and medium range ballistic missiles in the terminal phase of flight.

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