“The system is proving its precision and lethal effect
throughout our skies, considering THAAD’s successes in
both the high- and now mid-atmospheric proving grounds,”
said Tom McGrath, program manager and vice president - THAAD
at Lockheed Martin. “By linking with another element of
the BMDS during this flight test, our nation's vision of a layered
missile defense becomes one step closer to reality.”
The integrated THAAD system was operating during the test,
including the radar, built by Raytheon, and launch system built
by Lockheed Martin. Throughout the test, the THAAD Fire Control
and Communications unit’s data link communicated with
a simulated Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense ship via a satellite
link with the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command,
located in San Diego. This successful link highlights the interoperability
of the various elements of the United States’ Ballistic
Missile Defense System (BMDS)
The test also evaluated the capability of the interceptor's
seeker during the 'end game' (terminal phase) to identify the
target and discriminate it prior to final intercept, and intercept
of a non-separating liquid-fueled target.
The THAAD program began flight testing in November 2005 at
White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), NM. Three successful THAAD
tests were conducted at WSMR, including the intercept of a unitary
target in July 2006.
THAAD is designed to defend U.S. troops, allied forces, population
centers and critical infrastructure against short- to intermediate
range ballistic missiles. THAAD comprises a fire control and
communications system, interceptors, launchers and a 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.