The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor plays an integral role in the Missile Defense Agency’s Ballistic Missile Defense System, providing a transportable, rapidly deployable ground-based capability to intercept and destroy short-to-medium range ballistic missile targets in the final phases of flight.
Aerojet Rocketdyne supplies both the booster motor technology that powers the interceptor, as well as the Divert and Attitude Control System (DACS), a high-precision, quick-reaction propulsion system that positions the interceptor to successfully defeat an incoming ballistic missile.
The unique DACS provides two kinds of propulsion: one for attitude control and the other for kill-vehicle maneuvering. The DACS uses six thrusters to provide roll, pitch, and yaw control for the interceptor. These thrusters act in different combinations to precisely stabilize the interceptor-seeker field of view for proper viewing of the target. The seeker's target data are then converted into maneuvering or divert commands that actuate the other four DACS thrusters as required. The divert thrusters provide short, forceful pulses to quickly and accurately position the THAAD kill vehicle for a collision with the target. The DACS performs over a demanding range of temperatures, shock, and vibration-flight environments.