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 firstname.lastname@example.org.