The Missile Defense Agency and soldiers of the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade from Fort Bliss, Texas, conducted a successful missile defense test [July 30, 2017] using the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, according to a Missile Defense Agency news release.
A medium-range target ballistic missile was air-launched by an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III over the Pacific Ocean. The THAAD weapon system, located at Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak, detected, tracked and intercepted the target.
The test, designated Flight Experiment THAAD (FET)-01, was conducted to gather threat data from a THAAD interceptor in flight, the release said.
“In addition to successfully intercepting the target, the data collected will allow MDA to enhance the THAAD weapon system, our modeling and simulation capabilities, and our ability to stay ahead of the evolving threat,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves, Missile Defense Agency director.
Soldiers from the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade conducted launcher, fire control and radar operations using the same procedures they would use in an actual combat scenario. Soldiers operating the equipment were not aware of the actual target launch time, the release said.
15th Successful Intercept
This was the 15th successful intercept in 15 tests for the THAAD weapon system.
The THAAD element provides a globally-transportable, rapidly-deployable capability to intercept ballistic missiles inside or outside the atmosphere during their final, or terminal, phase of flight. THAAD is strictly a defensive weapon system. The system uses hit-to-kill technology where kinetic energy destroys the incoming target, according to the release.
The mission of the Missile Defense Agency is to develop and deploy a layered ballistic missile defense system to defend the United States, its deployed forces, allies and friends from ballistic missile attacks of all ranges in all phases of flight, the release said.