Raytheon Missiles & Defense received a $2.3 billion U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) production contract for seven gallium nitride (GaN)-based AN/TPY-2 radars.
The contract is part of a foreign military sales (FMS) to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia an is support of Saudi’s procurement of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, which is designed to protect against incoming ballistic missile threats.
“These highly capable X-band radars are the sharpest eyes in the global missile defense system,” said Bryan Rosselli, vice president of Strategic Missile Defense at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “The addition of GaN technology delivers capability for threats to be detected, tracked and discriminated with improved radar reliability.”
The mobile AN/TPY-2 missile defense radar uses X-band to clearly see ballistic missile threats. The radar system operates in two modes: forward-based mode — which detects ballistic missiles and identifies any lethal objects as they rise after launch — and terminal mode as part of the THAAD system, which guides interceptors toward a descending missile’s warhead.
Of the 14 AN/TPY-2 radars produced, seven are fielded as a part of U.S.-operated THAAD systems, five operate in forward-based mode for the U.S., and two are part of foreign military sales.
Saudi THAAD Procurement
Saudi Arabia and the U.S. entered formal discussions for THAAD missile system in December 2016. The U.S. State Department approved the sale under the U.S. Foreign Military Sale (FMS) route in October 2017 following the Saudi Arabian request for 44 THAAD launchers, 360 THAAD Interceptor Missiles, 16 THAAD Fire Control and Communications Mobile Tactical Station Group and 7 AN/TPY-2 THAAD radars.
The THAAD procurement will substantially increase Saudi Arabia’s capability to defend itself against the growing ballistic missile threat in the region. THAAD’s exo-atmospheric, hit-to-kill capability will add an upper-tier to Saudi Arabia’s layered missile defense architecture and will support modernization of the Royal Saudi Air Defense Force (RSADF).
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), formerly Theater High Altitude Area Defense, is a ballistic missile defense (BMD) system designed to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate range ballistic missiles (SRBM, MRBM, IRBM) in their terminal phase by intercepting with a hit-to-kill approach.
Although the actual figures are classified, THAAD missiles have an estimated range of 125 miles (200 km), and can reach an altitude of 93 miles (150 km).
The THAAD interceptor carries no warhead, but relies on its kinetic energy of impact to destroy the incoming missile. A kinetic energy hit minimizes the risk of exploding conventional warhead ballistic missiles.