the home of online investigations

UAE THAAD Site Reaches Milestone

January 30, 2017

By Chris Biggers

Translations: Русский

Satellite imagery shows that the UAE Air Force and Air Defence has deployed the AN/TPY-2 radar along with its THAAD battery operating near the coast.

Satellite imagery from 16OCT16 confirms the deployment of the AN/TPY-2 Radar (Imagery: DigitalGlobe).

The UAE operationally deployed the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system for the first time in 2016, a review of satellite imagery suggests. The U.S.-built system was co-located at a recently constructed Patriot site, positioned immediately to the south of the UAE Naval College.

The THAAD site, constructed in 2014-2015, features four hardened munitions shelters, a support area and six prepared firing positions. All launch positions have been occupied with the unit’s transporter erector launchers (or TELs) since early 2016. In the most recent imagery in Google Earth, several additional TELs have been noted in the support area.

The THAAD system—designed to intercept short-range, medium-range, and some intermediate-range ballistic missiles—works in concert with the country’s existing assets including the Patriot PAC-3s, Hawk batteries and other associated radar elements. Together, they form a multilayered missile defense network protecting population centers and critical infrastructure.

In 2011, the UAE became the first international customer to procure the advanced missile defense system as a Foreign Military Sale under the Arms Export Control Act. According to the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the initial contract, estimated $1.135 billion, included 48 missiles, 9 TELs and two Radars.

Initial deliveries were made to the Middle Eastern country in late 2015. Around the same time, 81 Emirati air defenders graduated from the first foreign THAAD Operator/Maintainer course at Fort Bliss; a 2nd class graduated in May 2016.

The mobile AN/TPY-2 Radar and power unit

The same year in October, the system reached a milestone when it was observed with the X-band AN/TPY-2 fire control radar. Prior to the radar’s employment, the system was likely operational, as it’s capable of utilizing fire control cues from other deployed sensors, including those potentially linked by allies protecting the region. (Previous imagery, for example, shows various TELs on alert, with missile canisters elevated in the launch position.)

When not deployed as a fire control radar, the AN/TPY-2 can operate in “Forward Based Mode” relaying tracking and IFF data to remote missile defense systems. However, switching between the two modes can take up to 8 hours. (A discussion of the radar’s ranges in both modes as publicly reported, can be found here.)

In total, a THAAD battery consists of six truck-mounted M1075 launchers, 48 interceptors (8 per launcher), a THAAD Fire Control and Communications (TFCC) unit aka Tactical Station Group (TSG), and one AN/TPY-2 radar. The truck platform used for THAAD is the Oshkosh M1120 HEMTT LHS.

Outside of the UAE, the U.S. Army has deployed a battery to the U.S. territory of Guam and has plans to setup a THAAD site in South Korea. A Qatari order was also in the works but has since been delayed due to the country’s declining hydrocarbon revenue.

 

This article was first published at Offiziere.ch and republished here with permission.

Chris Biggers

Chris Biggers is a public and private sector consultant based in Washington, D.C.

Join the Bellingcat Mailing List:

Enter your email address to receive a weekly digest of Bellingcat posts, links to open source research articles, and more.

Support Bellingcat

You can support the work of Bellingcat by donating through the below link:

8 Comments

  1. phil cashman

    It is very disturbing that now china has built up its defence forces it can do what it likes regarding a whole range of issues

    If China does not want US batteries in south Korea then they should do more to stop the North achieve mass distruction weapons
    That is obvious

    But No they do not care if south Korea gets blasted off the face of the earth

    But China would know that if the south shot down a missile in intermediate flight the
    fallout would affect large parts of china via prevailing winds

    So China your word cannot be trusted pity
    so Tiewan cannot beleave anything you say

    What a great tragedy its come to all this

    I did not vote for donald but you have to say he got balls and just maybe just maybe need a man in the white house to draw a line in the sand in very uncertain times

    So he is the man for our
    uncertain times and we should all get behind him

    He may or may not make America great again
    but at end of day he could make the world a safer place to live

    Reply
  2. Mad Dog

    Really doubt it. he will make the place less safe as his tweets remain off the cuff and without any factual backdrop. Not sure I want to go to war based on a fould mood when he gets up in the morning. the other stuff you mentioned is basically pretty sound, but there is a big difference between the ‘balls’ of DJT and those o such greats as Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, FDR, etc.

    Reply
    • stranger

      I personally heard from at least 2 people in the States. “We need changes. Let’s give Trump a chance. So far he’s never deceived on his promises” I believe there is really a big crack in the States now which is hardly to recall from the history. Nevetherless Trump was legally elected. There are real people who support him and are waiting for a change. You have to live with Trump, he is legitimate based on real people’s support. That is called democracy, when a bunch of loud minorities are not representing all the voters.
      There are strong and objective challenges America has faced with. Trump or anybody else the things will probably not be the same. One of the examples is the tremendous external treasuries debt combained with the internal debt satiation. The objective decrease of US influence in the world with the developing of China and other countries, described even by Bzhezinsky in 2000. So Trump or anybody else, there are somewhat uncertain times coming.
      From Russian prospective Russia would welcome everybody who is aspiring to restore the broken relationships with the States. So the Trumps victory was very inspiring in Russia. And how it will be going nobody knows.

      Reply
      • oui oui

        I personally heard from at least 2 people in Russia. “We need changes. Let’s give Navalny a chance. So far he’s never deceived on his promises” I believe there is really a big crack in Russia now which is hardly to recall from the history. Nevetherless Navalny will be legally elected. There are real people who support him and are waiting for a change. You will have to live with Navalny, he is legitimate based on real people’s support. That is called democracy, when a bunch of lying minorities are not representing all the voters.
        There are strong and objective challenges Russia has faced with. Navalny or anybody else the things will probably not be the same. One of the examples is the tremendous state of the economy , the lying state’s media is an other . The objective decrease of Russia bad influence in the world with the developing of China and other countries, not even seen by Bzhezinsky in 2000. So Navalny or anybody else, there are somewhat uncertain times coming.
        From Russian prospective Russia would welcome everybody who is aspiring to restore the broken relationships with the state. So the Navalny victory will be very inspiring in Russia. And how it will be going nobody knows as Putin’s machine is lying trying to have him in jail
        if Russia was a sane space it’s neighbors would be asking to be a part of it .

        Reply
        • stranger

          Ok, you have learned Copy&Paste already. The only difference is that Navalny has not been elected and Trump has. See no difference? I have some questions to Navalny, but it’s a different story. Briefly he will not be elected, and that is not necessarily what he is looking for. But really a different story.

          Reply

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)