The US Missile Defense Agency and Lockheed Martin conducted another successful flight test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon system, intercepting a unitary target in THAAD second flight test at the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on Kauai, HI.

This hit-to-kill intercept demonstrated THAAD’s precision against in-bound threats and its ability to provide increased protection for troops and assets. Preliminary data indicates the flight test met all objectives. This included new goals, which set this test apart from previous flight tests:

• The target was intercepted in the mid endo-atmosphere

• The THAAD Fire Control and Communications unit’s data link communicated with a simulated Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Ship via satellite link with the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, located in San Diego, CA. This successful link highlights the interoperability of the various elements of the United States’ Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS)

• Proved THAAD’s endgame capability

• Examined hit assessments in radar data

Other objectives were met, including demonstrating the integration of the radar, launcher, fire control, communications and interceptor operations; interceptor seeker characterization (target identification); discrimination and intercept of a non-separating liquid-fueled target; and examining launch procedures and equipment.

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.

Earlier this year, the first flight test conducted at PMRF demonstrated THAAD’s ability to intercept a threat representative target in the high endo-atmosphere. THAAD is designed to defend US 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.