US will test THAAD system in Alaska: Official
Iran Press TV
Fri Jul 7, 2017 10:36PM
The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) says it will soon test an anti-ballistic missile system amid rising tensions over North Korea's increased missile tests.
On Tuesday, North Korea announced it had successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), claiming it could "reach anywhere in the world."
US intelligence agencies said the missile was most likely a new ICBM with an estimated range of 5,500 kilometers (3,400 miles), capable of hitting Alaska.
The MDA said Friday that it will test the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in the coming days at the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak, Alaska.
THAAD "will detect, track and engage a target with a THAAD interceptor" rocket in "early July," Chris Johnson, a spokesman at the MDA, said.
"The test is designated as Flight Test THAAD (FTT)-18," Johnson added, but did not give further details.
Unsettled by North Korean missile and nuclear programs, the United States has adopted a war-like posture, sending a strike group and conducting joint military drills with North Korea's regional adversaries Japan and South Korea.
On Tuesday, military forces of the US and South Korea launched surface-to-surface missiles in reaction to North Korea's recent test-launch of an ICBM.
THAAD, which is a ground-based missile system that can defend against short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles at the terminal stage of flight, became operational in South Korea in May.
Seoul and Washington reached an agreement over the THAAD's deployment in July last year, declaring that the objective is to protect South Korea against North Korea's alleged missile threats.
Pyongyang has expressed its strong opposition to the move, saying the US advanced missile system in the South would destabilize the region's security by upsetting the military status quo.
North Korea says that it is developing arms as deterrence against the US and will not abandon the missile and nuclear programs unless the US ends its hostility toward Pyongyang.