DOD News Release Number: No. 193-97 April 23, 1997

The Department of Defense announced today that two independent
review teams examining the Theater High Altitude Area Defense
(THAAD) missile defense system have completed their individual
assessments and forwarded recommendations to senior officials of the
Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, U.S. Army and other
government agencies. The teams found that although THAAD has
failed to intercept a target ballistic missile in four attempts, the THAAD
design as a hit-to-kill interceptor is sound, as is the concept that
THAAD will meet its operational requirements. 

After the fourth intercept attempt, Air Force Lt. Gen. Lester L. Lyles,
Director, Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, chartered the U.S.
Army's Program Executive Officer for Missile Defense to establish two
independent review teams. A Systems Concept Team was established
to review and evaluate the THAAD concept, including requirements
and program baseline, and determine if the system design is sound and
capable of meeting warfighter needs. The Missile Assessment Team,
was chartered to review and evaluate the THAAD missile design to
determine if it is capable of performing its intended mission, focusing on
engineering design, quality assurance, system and subsystem testing
and overall reliability. Recommendations from the two teams included: 

* Conduct additional component testing during and after the missile
assembly process, and with high- fidelity simulations of missile and
system components 

* Keep missile configuration consistent through the program Definition
and Risk Reduction phase, including structural and electronics

* Continue to ensure quality assurance procedures are followed
throughout the production and assembly process 

* Further refine concept of operations to best take advantage of
available external cueing (target data and tracking provided by external
sources, i.e., satellites, radars, etc.) 

* Minimize the difference between User Operational Evaluation system
(UOES) and objective system design, and incorporate new
technologies proven in ground testing 

The team's recommendations are now under evaluation by BMDO and
the Army to assess implementation. The next THAAD intercept test
was scheduled for this summer, but may be delayed until late this year
in order to implement the recommendations. 

For additional information, contact Lt. Col. Rick Lehner, BMDO
External Affairs, at (703) 695-8743.