THAAD Intercepts Target Missile at Lowest Altitude Yet

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army and Missile Defense Agency (MDA) on June 29 conducted a successful test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, intercepting a target missile at a lower altitude than in previous tests, the MDA announced June 29.

The test began with the launch of a short-range ballistic missile target from a mobile launch platform in the Pacific Ocean west of Hawaii, the MDA said in a press release. The THAAD system at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii, detected and tracked the target and fired an interceptor about five minutes after the target was launched. The interceptor destroyed the target inside the Earth’s atmosphere at an altitude lower than previous intercepts, the release said. The test was conducted by soldiers of the 6th Air Defense Artillery Brigade of Fort Bliss, Texas.

Following a string of failures dating back a decade or so, testing of the THAAD system was halted while development continued. Since its flight test program was restarted in 2006, the THAAD system has gone seven-for-seven in intercept attempts, not including three tests that were hampered by target failures.