The UAE has for the first time used the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense [THAAD] missile system in real combat conditions, using its ‘hit-to-kill approach’.
Hit-to-Kill is a way of intercepting and destroying a port rocket. This method is also known as “kinetic killing”, where the missile of the THAAD system is not armed with a warhead, but strikes the enemy missile at very high speed. Thus, the destructive power of the missile is very large.
The principle of Hit-to-Kill is as follows: the physics of anti-ballistic missile systems knows that an object [ballistic missile] is moving against it with great speed, especially at the beginning of its final phase of flight.
The function of the Hit-to-Kill method is that the missile fired against the ballistic missile does not exceed the speed at which the ballistic missile moves.
The idea is a missile that will hit the target with the Hit-to-Kill method to hit the lower limit of the ballistic missile with speed. Thus, if the ballistic missile carries a TNT charge of about 4853 joules per gram, or about 5 MJ per kilogram, the impact energy of the interceptor mass is more than five times greater than that of a detonating warhead of the same mass.
THAAD’s hit-to-kill capability is characterized by precise sensory ability, speed, and correct hitting. Hit-to-Kill has another task – the defeat of the enemy missile must be carried out at a distance from the area protected by the THAAD system, so the debris does not fall exactly where THAAD protects.
THAAD operates missiles approximately 6.2 meters long and 0.4 meters in diameter. When launched, due to the fuel, the rocket weighs just over 660 kg.
One THAAD missile is equipped with a single-stage amplifier, solid fuel, and a kinetic kill vehicle. THAAD can intercept missiles in an extremely large range – from 15 to 300 km.
The UAE has had THAAD since 2015 and in the same year put into service and combat duty purchased batches from the United States. The deal took more than three years after it became clear in 2012 that the UAE wanted to buy it.
The UAE paid just over $ 1.1 billion for two batteries. It is said that since then the UAE has acquired a total of 192 missiles for THAAD.