The US Army is moving a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) remote launch package from Guam to Rota, Spain, a service announcement said.
The 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC) and Joint Region Marianas will deploy a THAAD launcher and associated personnel and equipment to Rota International Airport in the CNMI early March.
A C-17 Globemaster III aircraft from the 15th Wing based out of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawai’i will move the equipment from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam to Rota International Airport.
This operation will allow the 94th AAMDC to gather valuable data and inform future deployments of THAAD Remote Launch packages throughout the theater, the announcement said.
While the statement touted to maneuver as an exercise, it comes at a time of high tensions in Europe amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. THAAD missiles have a range of around 200 kilometers and can reach altitudes of up to 150 kilometers.
THAAD remote launch is a recently developed capability that allows a THAAD launcher to operate while geographically separated from its Tactical Fire Control Center and radar array. This can expand the amount of area a THAAD battery can defend and allows commanders greater flexibility in deploying the system.
“There is no more important mission than the defense of the homeland – and exercising THAAD’s remote launch capability allows us to enhance the effectiveness of a combat-tested, upper-tier missile defense system
that is vital to the Army’s ability to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Brig. Gen. Mark Holler, Commanding General of 94th AAMDC said.
“Missile defense is the number one priority for Indo-Pacific command in this region and testing THAAD’s remote launch ability bolsters our defense of CNMI, fortifying our layered defense in the region,” Rear Adm. Benjamin Nicholson, Senior Military Official for CNMI and Joint Region Marianas Commander said.