Lyles Announces THAAD Program Changes By Jim Garamone American Forces Press Service 21 July 1998 WASHINGTON -- DoD hopes to overcome a series of failures and get the Theater High-Altitude Area Defense missile system back on track for fielding in fiscal 2006, the department's top missile defense official said July 9. The Theater High-Altitude Area Defense missile program came about following U.S. experience in Desert Storm, Air Force Lt. Gen. Lester Lyles, director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, said at a press conference. The U.S. Patriot missile system performed well during the war against Iraqi Scud missiles launched at coalition troops and Israel, but more needed to be done, he said. THAAD is part of the Theater Missile Defense system, which also includes Patriot III, Navy's Theater Wide and Area defense systems, and the Medium Extended Air Defense System. A Battle Management/Command, Control and Communications element will tie together all the parts. The last five THAAD flight tests failed, but each for different reasons. A short circuit in the missile's thrust vector control mechanism caused the most recent failure, on May 12, Lyles said. He said all other components of the system -- the launcher, battle management element and the radar -- have worked well. "THAAD is meant to address a growing threat to our troops," Lyles said. "We desperately need to have this capability to support our warfighters." He told reporters he'd examined failure analysis records and met with contractor and DoD personnel. "I am confident we will be able to get a capability to support the troops, and we are trying to make it as close to the original fielding date as we possibly can," he said. "However, we're not naive," he said. "Obviously, we realize the heart of the THAAD is the bullet. [It's] the thing that really makes missile defense a success and what missile defense is all about. We're committed to making the THAAD missile work." Following the May failure, Lyles' office sent a cure notice to the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin Corp. The notice is a statement of dissatisfaction with contract performance. Lockheed Martin replied it intends to change the organization of the project, and it brought in a troubleshooter to oversee the test flight program. The company also set up five review teams to examine all program processes involving quality control, reliability control, manufacturing, testing and so forth. It also called on competitor Raytheon Corp. for help in examining data from the failed tests. Lyles said his organization and Lockheed Martin are negotiating arrangements toward sharing costs associated with THAAD missile tests. He said the next test flight will be sometime in the fall. "We want to complete all the failure analysis first to make sure we understand any corrective actions that might be necessary," he said. "The bottom line is, we're going to fly when we're ready to fly." ##end##