THAAD Missile Interceptors Destroy Two Targets in Test

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A pair of Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors successfully tracked and destroyed two target missiles during an Oct. 5 test over the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) announced.

The first THAAD missile intercepted an air-launched short-range ballistic missile target. The second intercepted a sea-launched short-range target shortly afterward. The test was conducted at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii.

The two interceptors were launched from a mobile ground-based launcher. A single THAAD radar and battle management system provided the target tracking data, according to Richard Lehner, a spokesman for the MDA.

Tom McGrath, THAAD vice president and program manager at Lockheed Martin, which designed and built the system, said in a statement that the interceptions demonstrated the system’s advanced capabilities.

“It was, by far, THAAD’s most challenging flight test to date,” McGrath said in a statement.

The U.S. Army, which operates THAAD, and the Pentagon’s director of Operational Test and Evaluation will review data from the test to determine the system’s effectiveness, Lockheed Martin said.

Since 2005, THAAD has conducted 12 successful flight tests, compiling a nine-for-nine record in tests involving target intercepts, according to Lockheed Martin. The program was restructured in the late 1990s after encountering developmental and test difficulties.