THAAD Eliminates Two Missile Targets in Test

The U.S. Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system eliminated two short-range ballistic missile targets in a test this week, according to a Defense Department agency (see GSN, May 31).

The trial occurred at 7:56 p.m. local time Tuesday at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

The exercise was the initial "operational test and evaluation" of the missile defense system, intended to demonstrate it would function as intended in a deployed, real-world situation, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said on Wednesday.

The THAAD battery "engaged and simultaneously intercepted two short-range ballistic missiles," according to a press release.

Information provided by the test will be used by the Army Test and Evaluation Command and the Ballistic Missile Defense System Operational Test Agency to develop an "operational assessment" of the technology, the release states. A separate analysis is expected from the Defense Department's head for operational test and evaluation.

The THAAD system is designed to use "hit to kill" technology to bring down enemy ballistic missiles in their end phase of flight, both within and outside the Earth's atmosphere (U.S. Missile Defense Agency release, Oct. 5).

The drill involved separate intercepts of targets launched from air and sea, according to THAAD manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

The system's missiles have eliminated targets in all nine intercept attempts since 2005, the defense contractor said in a press release.

“Today’s outcome is a credit to the soldiers who executed this mission from start to finish,” Tom McGrath, Lockheed Martin THAAD vice president and program manager, said in provided comments. “It was, by far, THAAD’s most challenging flight test to date and demonstrates the system’s advanced capabilities" (Lockheed Martin release, Oct. 5).

October 5, 2011
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The U.S. Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system eliminated two short-range ballistic missile targets in a test this week, according to a Defense Department agency (see GSN, May 31).