BAE Systems to Design Next-Gen IR Seekers for THAAD Weapon System

BAE Systems has been awarded a contract from Lockheed Martin to design and manufacture next-generation infrared seekers for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon system.

The sensor design work will improve the missile defense system’s ability to neutralize more threats and improve its manufacturability, said a company statement.

“The THAAD seeker is a key product in our precision munitions portfolio that’s recognized for its proven intercept capabilities. It demonstrates our ability to deliver advanced targeting and guidance systems for critical precision munitions,” said Barry Yeadon, THAAD program director at BAE Systems. “This award is a testament to our ongoing success with the program, and enables us to advance our proven design and take the program into the future in support of the Missile Defense Agency’s mission.”

THAAD is an American anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system designed to shoot down short-, medium-, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs, MRBM and IRBMs) in their terminal phase (descent or reentry) by intercepting with a hit-to-kill (using just kinetic force without warhead) approach.

The THAAD system is an integral part of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA)’s mission to field an integrated, layered, Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDA). Its high-altitude intercept capability mitigates the effects of enemy weapons before they reach the ground, and its non-explosive kinetic impact minimizes the risk of detonation. THAAD is a highly effective system for addressing ballistic missile threats.

BAE Systems’ seeker provides infrared imagery that guides interceptors to their intended targets, destroying enemy warheads inside or outside the Earth’s atmosphere. The company has been developing and producing missile defense seeker technology for more than four decades and has delivered more than 500 THAAD seekers to date.

The THAAD seekers are assembled, integrated, and tested at the BAE Systems’ facilities in Nashua, New Hampshire and Endicott, New York. Portions of the design work for the next-generation seeker technology will be conducted in Huntsville, Alabama, where the company is building a state-of-the-art facility.

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