Whole THAAD Weapon System Tested at White Sands

Released on Thursday, May 11, 2006
United States of America
BMDS - Ballistic Missile Defense System
MDA - Missile Defense Agency
THAAD - Theater High Altitude Area Defense
WSMR - White Sands Missile Range
Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) successfully conducted an integrated Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) flight test at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), New Mexico, today. This is the first developmental flight test to engage the entire THAAD weapon system including the THAAD interceptor, launcher, radar and fire control system.

Specific test objectives included demonstrating all major elements of the THAAD weapon system during engagement of a virtual target: interceptor launch and control; kill vehicle control in response to in-flight uplinks; seeker operation; and radar acquisition, track and in-flight communications with the interceptor. All test objectives were achieved.

U. S. Army soldiers from Fort Bliss' 6th Brigade participated in today's test, with two soldiers conducting radar operations, two soldiers assisting contractors at the launcher, and one soldier assisting contractors at the THAAD fire control and communications.

This is the second successful THAAD developmental flight test conducted since flight testing resumed for the program in November 2005. Three more test flights are scheduled to occur at WSMR before THAAD testing moves to Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii.

THAAD is designed to defend U.S. troops, allied forces, population centers and critical infrastructure against short- to medium-range ballistic missiles. THAAD comprises a fire control system, interceptors, launchers and 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, Alabama. 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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