US carries out successful THAAD remote launcher test

The U.S. carried out a successful intercept test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, the first using a remote launcher kit, the Missile Defense Agency said.

The MDA, Ballistic Missile Defense System Operational Test Agency and U.S. Army soldiers of the E-62 Battery, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade carried out the test from U.S. Army Garrison Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands early on Friday, August 30.

“Preliminary indications are that planned flight test objectives were achieved and the target was successfully intercepted by the THAAD weapon system,” MDA spokesperson Mark Wright said.

It was the first time the THAAD system had used a government-developed remote launcher kit that extended the range of the defended area, he added.

It was the 16th successful test of 16 for the THAAD system since 2005.

The THAAD system now has the capability to physically untether a THAAD launcher from the battle manager and launch interceptors remotely, greatly enhancing launcher emplacement options and increasing the defended area, Lockheed Martin said in a Friday statement.

“This test demonstrates the expanding capabilities of the THAAD weapon system and its ability to intercept and destroy ballistic missile threats in defense of our nation, deployed forces and allies,” MDA Director Vice Admiral Jon A. Hill said.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, developed by Lockheed Martin, is designed to hit-to-kill intercept both short- and medium-range ballistic missiles in terminal or descent phase. It is interoperable with Raytheon’s Patriot missile defense system.

The U.S. approved the sale of THAAD to Saudi Arabia and deployed the system to Israel earlier this year.

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