U.S. Missile Defense Agency And Lockheed Martin Conducts Successful Flight Test Of THAAD Weapon System
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency and Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] conducted another successful flight test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon system today, intercepting a unitary target in THAAD’s second flight test at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kauai, HI. This hit-to-kill intercept demonstrated THAAD’s precision against in-bound threats and its ability to provide increased protection for troops and assets.
Preliminary data indicates the flight test met all objectives. This included new goals which set this test apart from previous flight tests:
-The target was intercepted in the mid endo-atmosphere.
-The THAAD Fire Control and Communications unit’s data link communicated with a simulated Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense ship via a satellite link with the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, located in San Diego.
-This successful link highlights the interoperability of the various elements of the United States’ Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS)
-Proved THAAD’s endgame capability.
-Examined hit assessments in radar data.
-Other objectives were met, including demonstrating the integration of the radar, launcher, fire control, communications and interceptor operations; interceptor seeker characterization (target identification); discrimination and intercept of a non-separating liquid-fueled target; and examining launch procedures and equipment.
“The system is proving its precision and lethal effect throughout our skies, considering THAAD’s successes in both the high- and now mid-atmospheric proving grounds,” said Tom McGrath, program manager and vice president - THAAD at Lockheed Martin. “By linking with another element of the BMDS during this flight test, our nation’s vision of a layered missile defense becomes one step closer to reality.”
The THAAD program began flight testing in November 2005 at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), NM. Three successful THAAD tests were conducted at WSMR, including the intercept of a unitary target in July 2006. Earlier this year, the first flight test conducted at PMRF demonstrated THAAD’s ability to intercept a threat representative target in the high endo-atmosphere.
THAAD is designed to defend U.S. troops, allied forces, population centers and critical infrastructure against short- to intermediate range ballistic missiles. THAAD comprises a fire control and communications system, interceptors, launchers and a radar. The THAAD interceptor uses hit-to-kill technology to destroy targets, and is the only weapon system that engages threat ballistic missiles at both endo- and exo-atmospheric altitudes.
A key element of the nation’s Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS), THAAD is a Missile Defense Agency program, with the program office located in Huntsville, AL. The agency is developing a BMDS to defend the United States, its deployed forces, friends and allies against ballistic missiles of all ranges and in all phases of flight.
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