THAAD test

The Washington Times Weekly - - National Security -

A mis­sile-de­fense in­ter­cep­tor of the Army’s Ter­mi­nal High Alti­tude Area De­fense, or THAAD, suc­cess­fully hit a tar­get bal­lis­tic mis­sile in Hawaii on March 18.

It was the first time the ground-based sys­tem for knock­ing out in­com­ing mis­siles was tested against a salvo of two mis­siles, al­though only one of the two tar­gets was de­stroyed. The sec­ond tar­get was de­stroyed by test of­fi­cials.

“Sol­diers op­er­at­ing the sys­tem did not know when the tar­get would be launched and re­acted to tar­get de­tec­tion as they would dur­ing a tac­ti­cal sit­u­a­tion,” said Mis­sile De­fense Agency spokesman Rick Lehner.

The THAAD in­ter­cep­tor col­lided di­rectly with a separat­ing war­head from the bal­lis­tic mis­sile tar­get just in­side Earth’s at­mos­phere.

THAAD is one of the lesser­known of three mis­sile de­fense sys­tems un­der de­vel­op­ment. The other two are the Ground Based In­ter­cep­tor sys­tem, cur­rent de­ployed in Alaska and Cal­i­for­nia, and the Navy sea-based mis­sile de­fense.

THAAD is con­sid­ered a highly ca­pa­ble sys­tem of sen­sors, radar and in­ter­cep­tors de­signed to knock out short-and medi­um­range mis­siles as they near the end of their launch cy­cle. When fully de­ployed, it wil be more ef­fec­tive against in­com­ing mis­sile at­tacks than the cur­rent Patriot mis­sile de­fense.

“It is a part of the lay­ered, in­te­grated mis­sile de­fense sys­tem, with both land-and sea-based in­ter­cep­tors that can in­ter­cept mis­siles of all ranges, dur­ing any phase of flight — boost, mid­course and ter­mi­nal,” Mr. Lehner said.

Bill Gertz cov­ers na­tional se­cu­rity af­fairs. He can be reached at 202/636-3274, or at in­sid­e­ther ing@wash­ing­ton­

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