The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) will conduct an operational test of its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system meant to counter threats from North Korea. the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported.
According to a U.S. Coast Guard notice, the launch is scheduled to occur at the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska in Kodiak Island. Mariners are advised to remain clear of swaths of ocean between Kodiak Island and Hawaii through the weekend.
According to the notice, the launch is scheduled to occur between 7 p.m. on July 29 and 1:30 a.m. on July 30. Alternative times for the launch are listed as between 7 p.m. on July 30 and 1:30 a.m. on July 31, or between 7 p.m. on July 31 and 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 1.
During the test, called the FTT-15, the THAAD missile’s ability to intercept a medium-range ballistic missile within the earth’s atmosphere would be put into test, said Leah Garton of MDA public affairs.
US Army Soldiers were temporarily stationed at the test site to assist the process.
Earlier this month the MDA announced that it had successfully completed a Flight Test THAAD-18 operation in Kodiak. Chris Johnson, the MDA’s director of public affairs, said the test “validated THAAD’s ability to intercept intermediate range ballistic missiles.” The two stage test, which marked THAAD’s 14 successful test, included the launch of “two interceptors from two co-located launchers,” according to Johnson. “The first missile engaged the target. The second interceptor was launched to test operational procedures,” he told the Mirror.
The test is likely to escalate in the already heated standoff between Washington and Pyongyang over the latter’s development of missiles and nuclear deterrents.
Earlier this month, the North successfully test-fired what the US insists was an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with an estimated range of 5,500 kilometers and capable of hitting Alaska.
The US has placed the advanced missile system to its bases in Guam and South Korea to counter missile threats from North Korea. It had also conducted military exercises including missile firing drills and live-firing exercises with Japanese and South Korean military.
THAAD Missile Defense System Explained:
THAAD Missile Defense Test: File Video