The Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Army soldiers of the 6th Air Defense Artillery Brigade from Fort Bliss, Texas, successfully conducted an intercept test for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense element of the nation’s Ballistic Missile Defense System today. A target missile was launched at approximately 9:32 p.m. Hawaii time, June 28 (3:32 a.m. EDT, June 29), and about five minutes later a THAAD interceptor missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) off the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Preliminary indications are that planned flight test objectives were achieved.
The test involved the intercept of a short-range unitary target in the endoatmosphere (inside the earth’s atmosphere). The target, representing a short-range ballistic missile threat, was launched from an at-sea mobile launch platform located in the Pacific Ocean west of Hawaii. Upon acquiring and tracking the target, the THAAD system developed a fire control solution and launched an interceptor missile, which acquired and successfully intercepted the target missile. The intercept occurred at the lowest altitude to date for the THAAD interceptor missile, which has the capability to engage targets both inside and outside the earth’s atmosphere.
Soldiers of the 6th Air Defense Artillery Brigade of Fort Bliss, Texas, conducted launcher, fire control and radar operations, using tactics, techniques, and procedures developed by the U.S. Army Air Defense School. Soldiers operating the equipment were not aware of actual target launch time. Also following the engagement, test personnel used the Simulation-Over-Live Driver (SOLD) software system to inject multiple simulated threat scenarios into the THAAD radar. This exercised THAAD’s capability to track and engage a mass raid of enemy ballistic missiles.
Several missile defense assets and emerging technologies observed the launch and gathered data for future analysis. Participants included the Command and Control, Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC) system and elements of the U.S. Army’s PATRIOT system. The PATRIOT system, located at PMRF, conducted engagement coordination with THAAD and conducted upper tier debris mitigation exercises during the intercept engagement.
This was the seventh successful intercept in seven attempts for the operationally-configured THAAD system. Operational elements of the Ballistic Missile Defense System are currently deployed, protecting the nation, our allies and friends against limited ballistic missile attack. The system continues to undergo development and testing to provide a robust layered defense against ballistic missiles of all ranges in all phases of flight.
The THAAD Program is managed by the Missile Defense Agency in Washington, D.C., and executed by the THAAD Project Office in Huntsville, Ala.