Target in Missile Defense Flight Test Successfully Intercepted Over Pacific
A threat-representative medium-range ballistic missile target was successfully intercepted during a flight test early this morning over the open Pacific Ocean, according to representatives with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
The target was intercepted by a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor launched from the Reagan Test Site at Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
The Ballistic Missile Defense System Operational Test Agency and U.S. Army soldiers of the E-62 Battery, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, conducted the test.
Agency representatives say preliminary indications are that planned flight test objectives were achieved and the target was successfully intercepted by the THAAD weapon system.
The test, designated Flight Test THAAD (FTT)-23, was the first time the THAAD system used a government-developed remote launcher kit that extended the range of the defended area.
“The Missile Defense Agency is committed to supporting the warfighter and we are proud of this success and the U.S. Army soldiers who executed this flight test,” said MDA Director Vice Adm. Jon A. Hill. “This test demonstrates the expanding capabilities of the THAAD weapon system and its ability to intercept and destroy ballistic missile threats in defense of our nation, deployed forces and allies.”
While initial indications show the test met its primary objective, program officials will continue to evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.
Soldiers from the E-62 Battery conducted radar operations, launcher and fire control operations using the same procedure they would use during combat. Simulating a real-world scenario, soldiers were unaware of the target-launch timing.
This was the 16th successful intercept in 16 attempts for the THAAD weapon system, which is designed to intercept threats both inside and outside the Earth’s atmosphere. Agency officials say this rapidly-deployable system provides a critical capability for defense against ballistic missile attacks.