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Successful Missile Defense Intercept Test Takes Place Off Hawaii

6 April 2007

Lieutenant General Henry “Trey” Obering, Missile Defense Agency director, announced today the completion of a successful intercept test for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ballistic missile defense element at the Pacific Missile Range Facility off the island of Kauai in Hawaii. This test involved the successful intercept of a “mid endo-atmospheric” (inside earth’s atmosphere) unitary (non-separating) target representing a “SCUD”-type ballistic missile launched from a mobile platform positioned off Kauai in the Pacific Ocean. The interceptor was launched from the THAAD launch complex at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. This was the 26th successful “hit to kill” intercept for elements of the Ballistic Missile Defense System since 2001, and the third successful THAAD intercept in the current program phase.

The target missile was launched at approximately 8:42 p.m. Hawaii Time, April 5 (2:42 a.m. EDT April 6). Approximately three minutes later the THAAD interceptor missile was launched and approximately two minutes later the intercept occurred over the Pacific Ocean.

Soldiers of the U.S. Army’s 6th Air Defense Artillery Brigade stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas operated all THAAD equipment during the test, conducting operations of the launcher, fire control and communications and radar. Their interaction with the complete THAAD system provided valuable test and operations experience for the soldiers and enhanced the operational realism of the test.

This was the first THAAD interceptor mission that was considered a Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) test, meaning that more than one element of the BMDS participated in the test. One of the objectives of this test was demonstrating successful beyond-line-of-sight communications with a U.S. Navy Aegis sensor, as well as communications links with the Command, Control, Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC) system and the U.S. Air Force Space-Based Infrared Sensors (SBIRS) system. Other flight test objectives included demonstrating successful missile launch from the PMRF launch site; interceptor “kill vehicle” seeker characterization (target identification), object discrimination and intercept of a non-separating liquid-fueled target; and collection of data including target aimpoint (location where interceptor strikes the target), ground equipment and radar tracking/target discrimination and hit assessment algorithms, and evaluation of the missile launching procedures and equipment. While post-test analysis will take place over several weeks, initial indications are that the test objectives were achieved.

The first successful THAAD intercept test in the current program took place on July 12, 2006 at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, and the second successful THAAD intercept took place on January 27, 2007 at PMRF. A test on September 13, 2006 at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico was not completed due to a failure of the target missile after it was launched. The THAAD interceptor was not launched.

THAAD is the first weapon system with both endo-atmospheric (inside the atmosphere) and exo-atmospheric (outside the atmosphere) capability developed specifically to defend against short, medium and intermediate range ballistic missiles. The THAAD system will provide high-altitude missile defense over a larger area than the complementary Patriot system, and, like the Patriot, intercepts a ballistic missile target in the “terminal” phase of flight—the final minute or so when the hostile missile falls toward the earth at the end of its flight. THAAD uses “hit to kill” technology, using only the force of a direct impact with the target to destroy it.

The Ballistic Missile Defense System is being developed, tested and deployed as a layered defense for the U.S. homeland, its deployed forces, friends and allies against ballistic missiles of all ranges in all phases of flight. The higher-altitude and theater-wide protection offered by THAAD provides more protection of larger areas than lower-tier systems like Patriot alone. THAAD can be transported by air to wherever it is needed worldwide, and consists of radar, fire control unit, missile launchers, and interceptor missiles.

The THAAD program is managed by the Missile Defense Agency in Washington, D.C., a joint service Defense Agency within the Department of Defense, and is executed by the THAAD Project Office in Huntsville, Ala. Lockheed Martin Corporation is the prime contractor.

Video of this test will be uplinked to satellite and will be available in three separate time windows from three different satellites. The times and coordinates are listed below.

1. Time: 12 midnight to 1 a.m. Hawaii Standard Time (6 a.m. to 7 a.m. Eastern Daylight time)
Satellite: G10R 123W transponder 6K
Downlink Frequency 11, 814 Mhz, Horizontal,
symbol rate: 3.617 msps and a QPSK of ¾

2. Time: 1 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., HST (7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. EDT)
IA-5 - C01 36 MHz
Orb Loc: 97W;
D/L: 3720Mhz Vertical;

3. From DVIDS:
Time: 2 a.m. to 3 a.m., HST (8 a.m. to 9 a.m. EDT) DVIDS Sideband 2 DIGITAL Galaxy 11-C21 D/L Frequency 4133 Horizontal L-Band 1017 Symbol Rate 6.1113 FEC 5/6 Data Rate 9386637 DVIDS 2 Service or Channel 2 IFB Channel 1 – 678-245-7624 Master Control 678-421-6604 Note—streaming video of the footage as it is being downlinked will be available on the DVIDS web site at

In addition to the video feeds listed above, video and still images of the test will be available at the following ftp site:
Username: thaad07
Password: ftt07

News media points of contact are Pam Rogers, Missile Defense Agency at (256) 503-3726, or
Rick Lehner, Missile Defense Agency at (703) 697-8997,
Trouble number for feed #2: (404) 381-2600
Trouble number for feed #1: Paul Gierow, (256) -509-9348

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