The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system successfully intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) target on August 30 in a missile defense test led by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA).
This was the first time the THAAD system used a government-developed remote launcher kit that extended the range of the defended area.
During the test, designated Flight Test THAAD (FTT-23), the THAAD system located at U.S. Army Garrison Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands successfully detected, tracked and intercepted a threat representative target using a THAAD launcher that was positioned at distance from the other THAAD end items.
Preliminary indications are that planned flight test objectives were achieved and the target was successfully intercepted by the THAAD weapon system. The program officials will now continue to evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.
This was the 16th successful intercept in 16 attempts for the THAAD system since 2005. The THAAD system now has the capability to physically untether a THAAD launcher from the battle manager and launch interceptors remotely, greatly enhancing launcher emplacement options and increasing 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.”
The test was jointly conducted by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) Operational Test Agency and U.S. Army soldiers of the E-62 Battery, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.
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.
THAAD is highly effective at defending against a host of ballistic missile threats to include mass raid scenarios. The system uses hit-to-kill technology to destroy a threat with direct impact neutralizing lethal payloads before they reach protected assets on the ground.
The system is rapidly deployable, mobile and interoperable with all other Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) elements, including Patriot/PAC-3, Aegis, forward-based sensors and the Command, Control, Battle Management and Communications system.