NASHUA, New Hampshire — BAE Systems has received initial contract funding in the amount of $81 million from Lockheed Martin Corp. to begin production of 143 infrared seekers for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon system program, designed to defend U.S. and allied soldiers, military assets, and metropolitan areas from ballistic missile attack threats. BAE Systems’ seeker provides the infrared imagery from the targeted warhead to the missile to guide the interceptor to its target, destroying enemy warheads through direct “hit-to-kill” technology.
“In what is called a ‘kinetic kill’, our reliable seeker detects infrared radiation from the target missile and warhead and generates video guiding the interceptor to the target,” said Barry Yeadon, THAAD program manager at BAE Systems. “THAAD has a spotless flight test record of nine-for-nine intercepts. During the most recent test, two interceptors destroyed two separate targets – a challenging feat.”
Lockheed Martin, the THAAD prime contractor and systems integrator, also awarded BAE Systems $5.3 million in initial contract funding for tooling and test equipment to increase the monthly production rate for the seeker.
BAE Systems has been developing and producing seekers for missile defense since the 1970s. The company supported the first hit-to-kill intercept of a ballistic missile target in 1984 and achieved two hit-to-kill intercepts in 1999. BAE Systems has delivered a total of 100 THAAD seekers to date. The assembly, integration, and testing of the THAAD infrared seekers will take place at BAE Systems’ facilities in Nashua, New Hampshire, and Lexington, Massachusetts.