Annex D. Space And Missile Defense Technologies
Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP 1997)

1. Theater Missile Defense Systems

The overall mission of the U.S. Army's Theater Missile Defense (TMD) program is to protect deployed U.S. forces, U.S. allies, and other important countries, including areas of vital interest to the United States, from threat theater missile attacks. The theater missile threat includes tactical ballistic missiles (TBMs), cruise missiles (CMs), unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), remotely piloted vehicles (RPVs), tactical air-to-surface missiles, and anti-radiation missiles (ARMs).

Primary to meeting the TMD program mission, TMD systems support the four operational TMD pillars (attack operations, active defense, passive defense, and BM/C4I) defined by the Joint Chiefs of Staff TMD Mission Need Statement (June 1991) and JCS Pub 3-01.5, Doctrine for a Joint Theater Missile Defense (30 March 1994). Below are brief descriptions of the major TMD systems that are supported by USASSDC. For more detailed information regarding TMD systems, refer to USASSDC's Theater Missile Defense Primer (April 1996) and the Army Modernization Plan.

Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) System

The THAAD is the Army's upper tier system that will protect wide areas, dispersed assets, and population centers against theater ballistic missile attacks. Its hit-to-kill technology will provide high lethality against a broader range of threat missiles. THAAD will be interoperable with both existing and future air defense systems and other external data sources.

The THAAD system consists of the missile and kill vehicle; truck mounted launchers; radar; and Battle Management Command, Control, and Communications (BMC3I). The mobile launcher will protect and transport the interceptor, in addition to firing them. Interceptors will consist of a missile round and a kinetic kill vehicle that will destroy targets by using hit-to-kill technology. The THAAD radar will provide surveillance, target tracking, and fire control, and provide a communication link with in-flight THAAD interceptors. The radar will also be able to classify missile threats and cue interceptors from other BMD systems in the theater. The BMC3I will manage and integrate all THAAD components by providing instructions, communications, and by processing and fusing sensor data. It will also link the THAAD system to other missile and air defense systems. THAAD completed its final design review in May 1994 and is currently in Demonstration/Validation. Following completion of all necessary flight tests, a prototype THAAD User Operational Evaluation System (UOES) is scheduled for availability in FY99 with first unit equipped projected for FY06.


Objectives Capabilities
  • Defeat tactical theater ballistic missiles
  • Upper tier of two tiered defense
  • Capable of both Endo- & Exo-atmospheric
  • Upper tier wide area defense against TBMs
  • Endo/Exo-atmospheric intercepts
  • Hit-to-kill lethality
  • Rapidly deployable by C-130
  • Infrared (IR) seeker for terminal guidance
  • Upper/lower tier cueing
  • Cueing to other systems
  • Modular
  • Early warning threat
  • Fire Control


PATRIOT Advanced Capability–3

The PATRIOT is a long-range, mobile, fielded Army air defense system, which uses guided missiles to simultaneously engage and destroy multiple targets at varying ranges. The PATRIOT Air Defense Missile System is undergoing a total system upgrade program known as PAC-3 and will be the lower tier of a two-tier active theater missile defense. The PAC-3 will enhance PATRIOT's capability against TBMs as well as current and future Air Breathing Threats (ABTs) (advanced manned aircraft, cruise missiles, and pilotless vehicles).

The PAC-3 system consists of a radar set, an Engagement Control Station (ECS), a launching station, and interceptors. The radar station provides warning and tracking of incoming threats. It also provides a continuous update link with in-flight interceptors. Radar upgrades will improve its multifunction capabilities, low altitude performance, TBM detection, performance in the presence of clutter, and will double the average power capability of the current transmitter. Communications upgrades will improve the dissemination of digital data and voice transmissions and provide a communications link to the TMD architecture. The ECS computes fire solutions for the interceptor, provides fire control, and provides a communications link with other PATRIOT units. The ECS is the central nervous system of PAC-3 operations. Control station upgrades automate intelligence and operations planning functions, as well as convert to common computer hardware. The launch station transports, protects, and launches the missiles. The PAC-3 missile uses its high maneuverability and hit-to-kill accuracy to destroy its target in a catastrophic collision. The PAC-3 Missile improves PATRIOT's capability to counter advanced, high-speed TBM threats and provides a design capability against low radar cross section ABT targets in all operational environments. Significant upgrades will improve PATRIOT by FY99.

Objectives Capabilities
  • Provide system enhancements that fully respond to PAC-3 ORD requirements and STAR threat
  • Incrementally satisfy ORD requirements through phased fielding of system enhancements
  • Demonstrate improved capability against air breathing and TBM threats
  • Initial fielding of PAC-3 in Late FY99
  • Hit-to-kill
  • Lethality enhancements
  • Lower tier point/limited area defense against TBMs and air breathing threats
  • Increases the number of missiles from 32 to 56 with two PAC-3 launcher stations
  • Designed to allow for an increase in the number of missiles from 32 to 68 using three PAC-3 launcher stations per fire unit
  • ECS can control up to four PAC-3 launchers
  • Radar and software upgrades
  • Rapidly deployable by C-130
  • Remote launch
  • C-band semi-active track-via-missile guidance
  • Active Ka-band dual mode MMW seeker for terminal homing
  • Lightweight-agile
  • High firepower
  • Upgraded PATRIOT radar
  • Fast response attitude control motors


Corps SAM/Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS)

By FY05, The Corps SAM/MEADS Program will develop a new mobile air and missile defense system that will protect Corps critical assets and maneuver forces against tactical ballistic missiles (TBMs), cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, tactical air-to-surface missiles, anti-radiation missiles, and fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. Corps SAM/ MEADS will be the critical lower tier component of the active defense pillar and is envisioned as the future centerpiece of the Army Corps Air and Missile Defense. The Corps SAM/MEADS will require half the air lift of PATRIOT, providing greater protection for early entry forces. The system will consist of a sensor, launcher, missile, and Tactical Operations Center (TOC), and will be capable of stand-alone operational capability. The system will be compatible/interoperable with other Army AD systems (i.e., THAAD, PATRIOT PAC-3, and FAAD) and will interface with joint and allied sensors and BM/C4I networks.



  • 360 degrees protection against TBMs, CMs, and other ABTs
  • Transportability consistent with protection of Maneuver Force
  • Highly survivable and operationally versatile distributed architecture
  • High firepower with low manpower and low airlift
  • Lower tier point/limited area defense against TBMs and ABTs
  • Highly mobile
  • Rapidly deployable by C-130
  • 360-degree coverage
  • Netted-distributed architecture
  • Compatible/interoperable
  • High firepower-rapid reload

Joint Tactical Ground Station (JTAGS)

The JTAGS links strategic sensor information directly to theater (field army/ corps/division) terminals to provide early warning, cueing, and targeting data to support the pillars. JTAGS is critical to theater operations in that it provides the essential information to enhance active defense, passive defense, and attack operations. A P3I program is currently under development to support future space-based IR systems.


  • Field joint tactical ground stations to provide in-theater real time tactical warning, alerting and cueing information
  • Use direct down-link from DSP and follow-on space-based sensors
  • Exploits space-based IR data
  • Real-time, in-theater use
  • Tactical network interface

Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD)

The Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL) weapon system concept is a mobile, high energy laser weapon that uses proven laser beam generation technologies, proven beam pointing technologies, and existing sensors and communication networks to provide a bold new active defense capability in counter air missions against current threats that are proliferating throughout the world. The THEL can be integrated into the short- to medium-range air defense architecture to provide an innovative solution not offered by other systems or technologies for the acquisition and close-in engagement problems associated with these type of threats, thereby significantly enhancing the defensive coverage to combat forces and theater level assets. The THEL low cost per kill (a few thousand dollars per kill or less) will also provide a very cost-effective defense against low cost air threats.

A joint U.S.-Israeli program has been initiated to develop a THEL demonstrator utilizing deuterium fluoride chemical laser technologies. Approximately 21 months will be required to design and build the system, followed by 12 to 18 months of field testing at the High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility and in Israel. This program will deliver a THEL Demonstrator with limited operational capability to defend against short-range rockets by March 1998. Future development of a User Operational Evaluation System (UOES) interim configuration using advanced laser technologies for use in contingency operations is also planned, based on the results of ongoing THEL concept definition studies and dependent upon availability of outyear funding.

On 18 July 1996, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the United States and the State of Israel was signed initiating the cooperative THEL Demonstrator Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD). On 23 July 1996, a sole source contract was awarded to TRW, the THEL Demonstrator prime contractor. The U.S. and Israeli THEL team members have completed a Concept Design Review (CoDR) in Israel for the demonstrator. The U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery School (USAADASCH) is planning to develop a Mission Needs Statement (MNS) and an Operational Requirements Document (ORD) for the UOES interim configuration. THEL weapon system concept definition studies using advanced technologies were awarded to four contractors on 30 September 1996 to support planning for the UOES interim configuration.

The Depressed Altitude Guided Gun Round (DAGGR) weapon system concept leverages mature radar and projectile technologies into an advanced, highly mobile (C-130 transportable) defensive system.

Operationally, DAGGR will provide an on-the-move rapid response air defense system to provide 360 degree threat search, perform acquisition/tracking of targets, conduct non-cooperative identification, and provide command guidance to perform hit-to-kill intercepts. An Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration will consist of a series of field experiments of increasing difficulty to assess the ability to negate the stressing threat.

The Joint Aerostat Program came into existence when the Army tasked the U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense Command to set up a joint-service project office to develop the Defense Department's first priority element for defense against land attack cruise missiles. The Joint Aerostat Project Management Office for Cruise Missile Defense was set up in February 1996 by USASSDC MDSTC to develop an aerostat that can provide both surveillance and fire control for defense systems such as the Army's Patriot PAC-3 and the Navy's SM2 missile that can shoot down cruise missiles.

An aerostat is a large, unpowered balloon moored to the ground by a long cable. From its position above the battlefield, an aerostat-based sensor will allow incoming cruise missiles to be detected, tracked, and engaged by surface-based air defense systems even before the targets can be seen by the systems usual radars. Aerostats have several characteristics which may make them especially suited to cruise missile defense. They are less expensive to buy and operate than comparable fixed-wing aircraft. This makes them the most affordable alternative for achieving a near-term cruise missile defense. They can stay aloft up to 30 days at a time providing 24-hour per day coverage over extended areas.

The internal pressure of an aerostat is about the same as the exterior pressure. This makes them extremely difficult to shoot down. These balloons can absorb lots of punctures before they lose altitude. When they do, they come down so slowly that they can be reeled in, repaired easily, and sent right back up. In the long term, aerostats would complement fixed-wing aircraft performing a similar mission, and this will provide the United States more robust and flexible cruise missile defenses. Mooring systems for large aerostats covering major portions of a theater of operations would probably be relatively permanent. For short- or medium-range surveillance and fire control, aerostats would be smaller and the mooring systems could be transportable or ground-mobile. Currently, the program plans to issue multiple concept definition contracts and then down-select to a single contractor for development. In parallel to the concept studies, an Army aerostat testbed has been established at Fort Bliss, Texas, using off-the-shelf equipment.

A concept called the Air Defense Tactical Operations Center (ADTOC) is being developed that will incorporate Air Defense/Theater Missile Defense force operations (FO) and engagement operations (EO) functions into a single Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) system. The Army Air Defense Artillery (ADA) objective for C3I is a standard, modular, and interoperable system that integrates FO and EO functions into a common ADTOC. Different configurations of the ADTOC will interface with and eventually replace existing ADA TOCs, command posts, fire control centers, and fire control systems. Any new system developed for the Air Defense Battlefield Operating System will use the ADTOC as its C3I system at all echelons of employment. The ADTOC will support FAAD, high-to-medium air defense systems (i.e., PATRIOT, HAWK, Corps SAM), anti-tactical ballistic missile systems (i.e., THAAD), and other systems that are assigned to the Air Defense Battlefield Operating System.

Selected Technology Demonstrations

To achieve the required operational capabilities, a balanced materiel development and demonstration strategy must be followed which includes technology initiatives in advanced focal plane arrays, data fusion, micro-electronics, ladar technologies, simulations and testbeds for battle planning and rehearsal, survivability and lethality assessment, endo- and exoatmospheric hit-to-kill vehicles, directed energy weapons, new materials and structures for lightweight, low-signature vehicles and airframes; and a unit-oriented training architecture that fully exploits the material capability. Selected key near-term technology demonstrations that will lead to the modernization of TMD systems are shown in Table D-1 and summarized below.

Table D-1. Theater Missile Defense Demonstration and System Summary

ATDs/ACTDs Selected Technology Demonstrations
  • ATDs (Advanced Technology Demonstrations) do not currently exist for the Army Strategic Defense Program
  • Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL)
  • TMD Critical Measurements Program (TCMP)
  • Kill Assessment Program
  • Real-Time Discrimination Program
  • Advanced Sensor Technology Program (ASTP
  • Anti-Radiation Missile (ARM) and Smart Weapon Countermeasures
  • InSb (Indium Antimonide) FPA Technology improvements
Systems/Advanced Concepts
Systems Advanced Concepts
  • Theater High altitude Defense (THAAD)
  • PATRIOT Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3)
  • Corps Surface-to-Air-Missile (SAM)/Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS)
  • Joint Tactical Ground Station (JTAGS)
  • Depressed Altitude Guided Gun Round (DAGGR)
  • Air Defense/TMD Operation Center (ADTOC)
  • Joint Aerostat Program

Advanced Sensor Technology Program (ASTP) (95-02). Evolving threats such as maneuvering Reentry Vehicles (RVs), penetration aids, and precision decoys require enhancement of current discrimination capabilities. The ASTP is initiated to improve sensor system performance and enhance discrimination robustness. The approach to achieving enhanced discrimination capability is to fuse multiple sensor data to obtain an optimum identification and to take advantage of the different target feature information available from each sensor. For example, target discrimination can be significantly improved by fusing the temperature/emissivity area data obtained with a passive IR sensor and the spatially resolved signature available with a ladar. This program will develop the technology base to permit the next generation of smart, fused, adaptable sensors to be fielded.

The two areas of focus are integration/demonstrations and sensor technology. In the integration/demonstration area, the objective is to perform a detailed analysis to quantify the benefits of fused sensors and define the sensor requirements for various platforms and applications. This analysis will be the basis for establishing component and system performance goals. Additionally, program demonstrations will be defined to facilitate program focus and permit measurement of progress. Also, it will be proposed to provide a versatile test bed, based on the Rapid Optical Beam Steering (ROBS) design, to permit integration and evaluation of sensors developed in this program. These efforts will be supplemented with registered, fused sensor measurements made at the Army Missile Optical Range (AMOR). Supports: THAAD, ADTOC.

Anti-Radiation Missile (ARM) and Smart Weapons Countermeasures (93-02). The ARM/Smart Weapons Countermeasure Analysis program investigates and tests techniques to increase radar survivability by camouflage, concealment and deception technologies, inherent electronic countermeasures, adjunct electronic countermeasures, ballistic hardening techniques, and active interdiction measures.

The USASSDC has developed the ARM countermeasures evaluator (ACE) to evaluate radar ECCM techniques to defeat the ARM threat. The ACE is located at the Huntsville Advanced Research Center (ARC) where RF signals replicating a radar's transmitted wave form are directly injected into actual ARM guidance and control microwave circuitry. By repeated closed loop missile in flight simulations, the ARM's susceptibility to various signal processing techniques can be determined and the radar's vulnerability reduced accordingly. Supports: THAAD, PATRIOT PAC-3, ADTOC.

Kill Assessment Program (94-99). The objective is to collect, obtain, and analyze data, and to develop algorithms using that data which will support rapid and accurate kill assessment in an operational TBM defense system. Under this task, data from lethality sled tests and WSMR intercepts will be collected and analyzed. Application of this data will be made to TBM scenarios and candidate kill assessment algorithms will be developed and analyzed. Plans are in place and preliminary data tapes have been received from several of the WSMR radars and optical sensors. Plans are in place for collecting radar and blast wave data on upcoming sled tests. Correlation between the effectiveness (lethality) of the engagement and properly calibrated observational data is crucial to the development of candidate kill assessment algorithms. A judicious selection of tests to be observed (or performed) will be necessary to collect representative data for the broadest range of threats and engagement results. In FY97, the most significant part of the program will focus on preparing for and analyzing THAAD intercepts. These are the most relevant tests and it is important that data from a variety of sensors be collected and analyzed to permit development and testing of kill assessment techniques. Supports: THAAD, ADTOC.

InSb (Indium Antimonide) FPA Technology Improvements. An InSb FPA was selected for the alternative seeker for the THAAD program as it offers significant sensitivity improvements for subsystem/system risk mitigation. The InSb seeker has not yet been selected as the baseline seeker because there are still serious concerns about stability of the correction coefficients and the successful application of GD-AOC.

The THAAD InSb seeker as currently designed uses a gimbal dithered active offset correction GD-AOC approach as the InSb baseline operating mode. However, a single point correction technique has been designed for the seeker as a backup mode of operation. The active correction technique provides known stability of the passive correction coefficients with temperature cycles and time. Further understanding of the stability of the InSb FPA may allow us to directly transition to our backup mode for WSMR testing in case GD-AOC performance issues (not known to date) are not cost or schedule effective to correct.

The primary focus will be on non-uniformity stability. Ten InSb FPAs will be fabricated for this testing. Ten individual dewars will be procured to allow longer term testing form each FPA. The physical properties that cause uniformity variations and their elimination will be studied for longer term effects and documentation. Changes in non-uniformity with number of cool-down cycles as well as change predictability will also be evaluated. Supports: THAAD, ADTOC.

Real-Time Discrimination Program (87-02). This program seeks to develop integrated real-time discrimination algorithms/architectures that can be utilized by elements of future BMD systems. In order to achieve this goal, the Lexington Discrimination System (LDS) has been developed to provide an environment in which discrimination algorithms/architectures can be evaluated in real time using field measurement data. The program consists of: (1) development of radar discrimination algorithms, (2) maintenance and upgrade of the LDS Test-Bed, (3) conversion of radar and optical algorithms to real time program format, (4) evaluation/validation of real-time algorithms on the test-bed, (5) combination and interface of algorithms into discrimination architectures and statistical evaluation of various architecture configurations, (6) examination of field data to discover new, useful discrimination phenomenology, and (7) investigation of promising discrimination techniques. This program is the culmination of over 20 years of discrimination research and currently has over 30 operational real-time active and passive algorithms and two active algorithm architectures available on the LDS Test Bed. The real-world experience and insights gained through study and development of discrimination techniques using real data in a completely causal manner will provide the foundation for future discrimination solutions. Supports: THAAD, ADTOC.

Theater Missile Defense Critical Measurements Program (TCMP) (92-99). The objective of TCMP is to reduce TMD weapon system risks with sensor data collection that addresses functional performance/algorithm robustness and to characterize potential theater countermeasures. The TCMP will launch a series of sub-orbital flights with theater type target vehicles, which will be observed by various optical and radar sensor platforms. The program will address critical TMD discrimination issues, characterize potential theater countermeasures, analyze data, and develop discrimination concepts and algorithms for proposed TMD systems. The program started in 2Q FY92 with the first two launches conducted in 2QFY93. The program will continue to FY99 and will address TMD system requirements that are traceable to PATRIOT, AEGIS, and THAAD Radar. TCMP launches were successfully conducted in July 1996. Another launch is scheduled for FY97. Supports: THAAD, PATRIOT PAC-3, ADTOC.

It is important that air defense modernization and related technology base program efforts exhibit a linkage with modernization plans in other Mission Areas. This linkage is important for decision makers when prioritizing all of the Army's modernization efforts. Figure D-1 portrays the linkage of air defense S/ACs and other modernization plans.

Figure D-1. Correlation Between TMD S/ACs and Other
Army Modernization Plan Annexes