United StatesGeneralAccounting Oftice
Beforethe Committeeon Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate
For Releaseon Delivery
am., EDT
May 3,1994
Information on Theater High
Altitude Area Defense
(THAAD) and Other Theater
Missile DefenseSystems
Statementof Brad Hathaway, Associate Director for Systems
Development and Production Issues, National Security and
sInternational Affairs Division
Mr. Chairmanand Members of the Committee:
I am pleasedto be here today to discussthe Theater High Altitude Area Defense(THAAD)
systemand other theater missiledefensesystems. We provided you with generalinformation on
THAAD in our recent report. ’ To set the stage for your considerationstoday, I will focus on the
statusand cost of the theater missiledefenseconceptsand on issuesrelevantto compliancewith
the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty.
THAAD is a mobile, land-basedsystembeing developedby the Department of Defense’s(DOD)
Ballistic Missile DefenseOrganization(BMDO). It is intendedto counter theater ballistic missiles
at high altitudes and long rangesusing hit-to-kill technology. Such interceptsare deemed
desirableto reducethe probability that debris and chemicalor biological agentsfrom a ballistic
missilewarheadwill reachthe ground in damagingamounts. Theseinterceptsare to provide
protection to wide areassuch as small countries and population centersand to military forces
dispersedin a theater of operations. The THAAD systemwill consist of missiles,mobile
launchers,ground-basedradars, a tactical operationscenter, and support equipment.
The executivebranch is currently involved in discussionsin the U.S.-Soviet StandingConsultative
Commissionon a proposal regardingthe ABM Treaty that would allow systemssuch as THAAD
to be developedand deployed. The treaty prohibits mobile, land-basedsystemsthat can counter
strategicballistic missiles,but it does not define the characteristicsof either a strategic or a theater
missile. However, sometheater missilesnow approachthe capabilitiesof the older, shorter range
strategicmissilesin terms of maximum range. As a result, the concern is that THAAD, if given
the capabilityto counter the newer more capabletheater threats, would have some capability
againststrategicballistic missiles. This would have seriousimplicationsfor THAAD and the
ABM Treaty.
With the end of the Cold War, the U.S. ballistic missile defensestrategy shifted from defending
the nation from a massiveattack by the Soviet Union, to protecting U.S. forces and friends from
theater ballistic missileswhile fighting in a major regional conflict overseas. The need for such
protection enteredpublic consciousnessduring the PersianGulf conflict.
With this shift in strategy, tinding appropriatedby Congressto BMDO for national missile
defensedecreasedwhile fimding for theater missile defenseincreased. In fiscal year 1993
Congressappropriatedabout $1.1 billion for theater missiledefenseand about $2.6 billion for
IBallistic Missile De e se: Informat’o o T eater Hi& Altitude Area Defense(T’HJ$AD)Svstem,
(GAO/N%%94-I gf7gIi January;; 113994;.
national missile defense. In fiscal year 1994, however, Congressappropriatedabout $1.6 billion
for theater missile defenseand only about $1.1 billion for national missiledefense.
A threat of particular concern in this era is the proliferation of theater ballistic missilesarmedwith
nuclear,biological, or chemicalwarheads. Ballistic missiledeploymentsare expectedto increase
world-wide, despitestepped-upefforts to inhibit their proliferation, and severalcountriesother
than the acknowledgednuclear statesare developingboth nuclearweaponsand ballistic missiles.
A BMDO-requested 1992 study indicatedthat more than 30 types of guided ballistic missileswith
rangesof 30 kilometers or greater were either operationalor under developmentin 19 developing
nations. Thirteen countries had produced,or were in the processof producing, missileswith
rangesgreater than 300 kilometers. In addition, the number of countriespossessinglonger range
(greater than 1,000 kilometers) missileswas expectedto increasesignificantly over the next
To addressthis threat, DOD considereda rangeof theater missiledefenseoptions. The DOD’s
Bottom-Up Review resulted in a decisionto pursue a theater missiledefenseprogram that
the Army’s THAAD system,
the Army’s upgradedPatriot systemcalled PAC-3 (Patriot AdvancedCapability - Three),
the Navy’s seabasedlower tier system,
the Navy’s seabasedupper tier system,and
an airborneboost phaseintercept system.
THAAD, PAC-3, and the Navy’s lower tier are funded as major acquisitionsin DOD’s Future
Years DefenseProgram covering fiscal years 1995through 1999. The Nhvy’s upper tier system
and the airborne boost phaseintercept systemare being pursuedas concept exploration programs,
one of which may enter the demonstration/validationphaseof the acquisitionprocessin fiscal
year 1998. I will now provide some additional detailsabout each of the Army, Navy, and Air
Force systems.
According to program documents,an effective theater missiledefensesystemrequiresa two-tier
architecture,with one systemproviding the upper tier of protection and the other system
providing the lower tier. Neither system,by itself, can fi.rlfill the total theater missiledefense
requirement,which includes defenseof dispersedassetsand population centers.
The THAAD systemwould be the upper tier and provides a wide areaof defense,to include
coverageof dispersedassetsand population centers. Interceptswill occur either outside the
atmosphereor high in the atmosphere. The PAC-3 systemwould be the lower tier, with
interceptswell inside the atmosphere,providing defenseof critical assets.
This two-tier architecture is designed to intercept threat missiles as far away fkom U.S. forces or
allies as possible,maximize the number of intercept opportunities, and minimize the number of
ballistic missilesthat “leak” through the defense. However, the two-tier defenseis possibleonly
when the THAAD and PAC-3 systems’capabilitiesoverlap. Single-tiercoverageresults when
defendingagainstmissileswith rangeseither lessthan the THAAD system’sminimum coverage
capability or greater than the PAC-3 system’smaximum coveragecapability. Figure 1 illustrates
how the two systemswould work together.
Figure 1: Operational Concept of Two-Tier Theater Missile Defense
deleclion D
Figure 1 shows how, in a potential sequenceof operations,an externalearly warning sensor,if
available,would detect the target and cue the THAAD systemfor an interceptor Iaunchbefore the
ground-basedradar could acquire the target. With or without the externalsensor,the
ground-basedradar would eventuallyacquire and track the target.
After receiving target identification and guidanceinformation from the radar, the THAAD
interceptor would be launchedtoward the target, and a kill assessmentwould be conductedby the
radar and tactical operations center. Then, if necessary,a secondTHAAD interceptor would be
launched. If the subsequentkill assessmentshowsthat the twget still was not destroyed,the radar
would cue the PAC-3 systemto engagethe targetsthat evadedthe THAAD system.
THAAD System
In 1990, BMDO initiated the THAAD systemrequirementas a hit-to-kill technology
demonstrationprogram. In September1992, a 4%month demonstration/validationcontract was
awardedto Lockheed.
The life-cycle cost estimatefor the THAAD systemis $14.9 billion in then-yeardollars. This
amount includes$4.5 billion for developmentbetween1991 and 2001, $5.7 billion for production
between 1998 and 2006, and $4.7 billion for operationand support between 1993 and 2016.
Thesefigures update the cost that we provided to you last January. With thesefinds, BMDO
plans to buy 1,422 THUD interceptors,99 launchers,and 18 ground basedradars. Since each
THMD battery would require 150 interceptorsand 9 launchers,these quantitieswould support
8 firing batteries,plus spares.
The first THAAD flight test is scheduledfor the last quarter of this year. In 1995, BMDO may
exercisean option to buy 40 User OperationalEvaluation Systemmissilesthat would be available
for early deploymentin 1996 or 1997 if neededin an emergency. The THAAD systemis
scheduledto enter the engineeringand manufacturingdevelopmentphasein 1996, and low-rate
initial production is plannedto begin in 1999. The date that the first unit in the field is to be
equippedis expectedto be 2001, with full-scaleproduction to begin in 2002.
PAC-3 System
The original Patriot was a surface-to-airguided missilesystemdesignedt%protect U.S. forces
from air strikes. The systemwas initially deployedin Germanyin 1985, and the Army
subsequentlyprovided Patriot with the capabilityto defendagainsttheater ballistic missiles. The
version currently deployed,referred to as the PAC-2 system,was used in Operation Desert
The PAC-3 interceptors, which are under development,will augmentthe PAC-2 interceptors
rather than replacethem. When fielded, eachPatriot battery would have a combination of PAC-2
and PAC-3 interceptors. In February 1994, the Army selectedthe ExtendedRange Interceptor
(ERINT) as the new PAC-3 interceptor. This selectionmust be approvedby the Defense
Acquisition Board. ERINT is a hit-to-kill interceptor offering advantagesin both range and
lethality over the PAC-2 interceptor.
The life-cycle cost estimateof PAC-3 using the ERINT is estimatedby the Army’s Cost and
Economic Analysis Center to be $3.2 billion in then-yeardollars. This amount includes
$776 million for development,$1.98 billion for production, and $371 milIion for operation and
support. BMDO plans to buy 1,500 PAC3 interceptors,plus a limited number to be used for test
purposes. The first unit is expected,tobe equippedwith PAC-3s by the fourth quarter of
fiscal year 1998.
The Navy is also developinglower and upper tier systemssimilar to the Army’s However, only
the lower tier is currently an approvedacquisition program. If produced,both systemscould be
installedon 51 shipswhich have the AEGIS Weapon System.
Sea-&d Lower Tier Area DefenseSystem
The StandardMissile 2 Block IV is being modified (called Block IVA) to improve its
performanceagainstshort-rangeballistic missiles. Its capabilitywill be similar to the Army’s
Patriot PAC-3 in terms of defensecoverage. The current cost estimateis $4 billion. BMDO is
planningto buy 40 User OperationalEvaluation Systeminterceptorsand two sets of modified
sofhvarefor the AEGIS Weapon System. Thesecould be used to equip two shipsin 1997-98.
The first ship equippedwith the final systemwould be operationalin 1999. It would be equipped
with 20 to 30 Block IVA interceptors. For comparison,a Patriot PAC-3 battery would have
32 interceptors.
Sea-basedUpper Tier TheaterDefenseSystem
The Navy’s upper tier systemwould have a capability similar to the Army’s THAAD. BMDO is
evaluatingseveralinterceptorsfor the upper tier system. The current cost estimateis $4 billion.
DOD will decidein 1998whether the program will begin the demonstration/validationphaseof
DOD recently decidedto begin concept exploration activities for an airborneboost phase
interceptor system. Such a systemwould consist of an interceptor on Air Force and Navy
fighters, such as the F-l 5 and the F-14, that could intercept theater missilesduring their initial
boost phasewhile still over enemyterritory. BMDO is currently developingthe plans for this
program, which will be submitted shortly to DOD for approval.
I will now discusssome issuesthese systemsraise concerningcompliancewith the ABM Treaty.
Although the ABM Treaty prohibits mobile, land-basedsystemsthat have the capability to
counter strategicballistic missiles,it provides no criteria for determiningwhat constitutes a
theater or strategic missile. Consequently,the executive branchis currently discussingin the
U.S.-Soviet StandingConsultativeCommissiona proposal that, if accepted,would provide a
demarcationbetweenstrategic and theater systemsthat would all_owsystemssuch as THAAD to
be developedin compliancewith the treaty. Figure 2 illustratesthe nature of the problem that the
executivebranch is attempting to resolve.
Figure 2: Notional Relationshipof THAAD, PAC-3, and National Missile DefenseSystems
rhreat Missiles
Administration se+ing to
changeunderstanding of treaty
in this area.
Legend: TMD = theatermissiledefense
NMD = nationalmissiledefense
One of the measuresused for determiningwhether missile defensesystemscomply with the ABM
Treaty is the velocity of incoming targets. In other words, if a missiledefensesystemis capable
of defendingagainstan incoming warheadwith a velocity greater than a certain speed,the defense
systemmay be determinedto be non-compliantwith the ABM Treaty. The velocity of a ballistic
missileincreasesas the range of the missileincreases. Sincethe United Statesusesvelocity as a
measureof treaty compliance,this measurecan also be relatedto the maximum range of the
missilesthat a systemis trying to counter.
Some theater ballistic missilesnow approachthe capabilityof strategic missiles. That is, the
long-range theater missiles,such as the CSS-2, haveranges(and resulting velocities) that are
similar to some of the older, shorter range strategicmissilessuch as the SSN-6. Theseolder,
shorter-rangestrategic missilesare obsoleteand are to be out of the Russianinventory by 1996.
In the fiscal year 1994 DefenseAuthorization Act, Congressurged the Presidentto immediately
pursue discussionson amendingthe ABM Treaty to permit clarification of the distinctions
between theater and strategic missiles. The executivebranchis currently seekinga demarcation
that would allow systemssuch as THAAD to be developedin compliancewith the ABM Treaty.
Discussionwith your staff raised questionsabout the extent to which the THAAD system,as
currently designed,might have capabilitiesagainsttargetswith velocities abovethose specifiedin
the system’sOperationalRequirementsDocument. We havepursuedthis questionwith
representativesof the Program Office and the Ballistic Missile DefenseOrganization. It became
clear during these conversationsthat any answerto the questionwould be highly dependenton
the assumptionsused in modelingthe capabilitiesof the system.
As you receive information from the executivebranchon this question,you may want to assure
that it is accompaniedby a clear statementof the assumptionsused. For example,the following
characteristicswould have significant impact on the answersderived from modeling:
-the operational concept involved,
-- the assumedoperationalcharacteristicsof the target vehicle, including its
velocity and its ability to alter it’s ballistic path,
-- the shapeand location of the protected arearelative to both the target’s and
interceptor’slaunch sites, and
-- the cueing availableto the systemfrom external sensors.
Mr. Chairman,this concludesmy testimony. I will be happyto answer any questionsyou or
membersof the Committee may have.
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BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENSE Information on Theater High Altitude Area Defense