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THADD nails lowest target, seventh of seven in testing

Jul 1, 2010

By U.S. Missile Defense Agency

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, July 1, 2010) -- The Army launched a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile, June 28, from Kauai, Hawaii, which successfully intercepted and destroyed another missile launched just minutes earlier.

This was the seventh successful intercept test of seven such tests for the operationally-configured THAAD system. Additionally, the intercept was at the lowest altitude to date for the THAAD interceptor missile, which has the capability to engage targets both inside and outside the earth's atmosphere.

The test was conducted by the Missile Defense Agency and Soldiers with the 6th Air Defense Artillery Brigade from Fort Bliss, Texas.

The test involved the intercept of a short-range target inside the earth's atmosphere. The target, representing a short-range ballistic missile threat, was launched from an at-sea mobile launch platform.

The THADD system acquired and tracked the target, developed a fire-control solution and launched an interceptor missile, which acquired and successfully intercepted and destroyed the target missile.

The test results "continue to prove that THADD will be an effective regional missile defense system," said Rick Lehner, a spokesman for the Missile Defense Agency. "Over time, it will be integrated with sea-based interceptors and PATRIOT systems."

Lehner said with the THADD system, the United States will have "an architecture to cover short- to medium-range threats anywhere in the world."

The THADD includes a missile, a launcher, radar and command and control systems. The system is an element of the nation's Ballistic Missile Defense System, and is designed to strike down enemy ballistic missiles as the move toward their target. Specifically, the portable THADD system targets enemy ballistic missiles in their "terminal phase," as they are approaching their targets.

"What it does is give the Army the ability to field a mobile missile defense system," Lehner said. The system is most effective against short- to medium-range enemy ballistic missiles, which Lehner says are the most likely to be encountered now in theater.

The THADD system is still in development, but Lehner said by next year it is expected the first operational units can be delivered.

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