29 Jun 10. The Missile Defense Agency and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) conducted a successful flight test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Weapon System today at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, HI. This flight test was THAAD’s seventh intercept to date and proved the system’s ability to intercept a unitary target in the low endo-atmosphere.
There were many THAAD flight test program “firsts” accomplished during FTT-14, including the lowest endo-atmospheric intercept to date; use of fielded THAAD ground segment hardware and software from the THAAD production program; and the first live mission to demonstrate automatic engagement coordination between THAAD and Patriot.
In addition to Patriot, the flight test included participation by the C2BMC element. The C2BMC reported situational awareness to combatant commander displays monitoring the test.
Flight test objectives included demonstrating the integration of the THAAD Weapon System; intercepting the target at a highly stressing angle due to the high pressure environment of the endo-atmosphere; completing target acquisition and aimpoint selection by the interceptor’s seeker avionics flight software; and operating the radar, fire control and launcher by U.S. Army soldiers during the mission.
“Today’s successful low endo intercept further proves THAAD’s mission flexibility and capability,” said Tom McGrath, vice president and program manager for THAAD at Lockheed Martin. “The weapon system’s success is much to the credit of the U.S. Army soldiers’ superior performance in executing this mission and their dedication to 100 percent Mission Success.”
Since 2005, the program has completed 11 flight tests, with seven-for-seven intercepts. THAAD is the only missile defense system with the operational flexibility to intercept in both the endo- and exo-atmospheres to provide versatile capability to the Warfighter.
Two THAAD batteries have been activated at Ft. Bliss, TX. The first THAAD Battery (A-4 ADA Battery) was activated in May 2008. Soldiers from the battery recently completed the Force Development Exercise and began Limited User Testing in May in preparation for material release expected late this year. In October 2009, the U.S. Army activated the second THAAD Battery (A-2 ADA Battery). Unit training for this Battery began earlier this year.
A key element of the nation’s Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS), THAAD is a Missile Defense Agency program, with the program office located in Huntsville, AL. The Agency is developing the BMDS to defend the United States, its deployed forces, friends and allies against ballistic missiles of all ranges and in all phases of flight.