Technical Glitch Foils Missile Defense Test

A technical problem with a target missile Friday curtailed an intercept test of the U.S. Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, the Missile Defense Agency announced (see GSN, Oct. 19).

A C-17 transport plane deployed the target, but the motor on the mock missile failed to start. In response, the agency did not fire a THAAD interceptor during the test at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

"All THAAD system components were verified to be in working order, and the system was ready to conduct the mission," the agency said in a press release.

The event did allow for successful simulations of the THAAD fire control system.

An "extensive investigation" of the problem is planned, the release states.

The Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense is intended to eliminate ballistic missiles traveling within and beyond the atmosphere. It is intended to be used against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles in the last stages of flight (U.S. Missile Defense Agency release, Dec. 11).

December 14, 2009
About

A technical problem with a target missile Friday curtailed an intercept test of the U.S. Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, the Missile Defense Agency announced (see GSN, Oct. 19).