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Successful Missile Defense Intercept Test Takes Place Near Hawaii

27 October 2007

Lieutenant General Henry "Trey" Obering, Missile Defense Agency director, announced today that an important test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System was successfully completed at approximately 3:15 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time today (approximately 9:15 p.m. Friday Hawaii Standard Time), resulting in the intercept of a ballistic missile target at the Pacific Missile Range Facility off the island of Kauai in Hawaii. Preliminary indications are that planned flight test objectives were achieved. The intercept involved the "exo-atmospheric" (outside earth's atmosphere) "hit to kill" destruction of a 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 31st successful "hit to kill" intercept in 39 tests since 2001 by ground and sea-based interceptors against short, medium and long-range ballistic missile targets.

The primary objective of this test was to demonstrate integrated operations of the system, including radar, launcher, fire control equipment and procedures, and the interceptor to detect, track and destroy the target missile using only the force of a direct collision between the interceptor and the target missile-hit to kill technology. Other objectives included demonstrating performance of an interceptor that had been "hot conditioned," or heated to a certain temperature before launching; and demonstrating the ability of the interceptor to perform correctly in the "endgame," or final seconds before target intercept. The ability of soldiers from the U.S. Army to conduct launcher, fire control and radar operations was also observed.

This was the fourth successful intercept for the current THAAD program in four tests and the third test of the THAAD system at Pacific Missile Range Facility. The first test at the Pacific Missile Range Facility was a successful high-endoatmospheric (just inside earth's atmosphere) intercept of a SCUD-type unitary target in January of this year. The second test this past April, also a success, involved the intercept of a "mid endoatmospheric" (inside earth's atmosphere) unitary target representing a "SCUD"-type ballistic missile. Soldiers of the 6th Air Defense Artillery Brigade stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas operated all THAAD equipment during all tests, 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 contributed to the operational realism of the tests.

THAAD is the first weapon system with both endo-atmospheric and exo-atmospheric 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. Patriot and THAAD, as well as the long-range Ground-based Midcourse Defense and the sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense, all use "hit to kill" technology.

The Ballistic Missile Defense System now in development and testing will be capable of providing a layered, integrated defense for the U.S. homeland, our deployed forces, allies and friends against ballistic missiles of all ranges, in all phases of flight-boost, midcourse and terminal. 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, DC, and executed by the THAAD Project Office in Huntsville, Ala. Lockheed Martin Corporation is the prime contractor.

News media point of contact is Rick Lehner, Missile Defense Agency, at (703) 697-8997 or Richard.lehner@mda.mil for Pam Rogers, Missile Defense Agency, at (256) 450-1421 or (256) 503-3726 or pamela.rogers@mda.mil

Video of the test will be available 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time today from the following coordinates:

Satellite: G10R 123W transponder 23K slot B
Downlink Frequency 12,155.5 Mhz, VERTICAL,
Symbol rate: 3.617 msps and a QPSK of

Trouble number: Greg Romaniak, (630) 440-0085

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