The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) and the U.S. Army announced today a successful intercept with a target by the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile in a flight test at the White Sands Missile Range, N.M.
The intercept, which took place at 7:19 a.m. (EDT), occurred over the central portion of the national missile range. The Hera target, which simulated a Scud ballistic missile such as those seen during Operation Desert Storm, was destroyed on impact. This test was THAAD's first successful intercept of a ballistic missile. All THAAD elements participated, demonstrating integrated performance of the entire system. Today's test was the tenth in a planned series of 13 Program Definition and Risk Reduction (PDRR) flight tests to verify the THAAD prototype design and performance of the system components.
THAAD uses technologies developed in earlier BMDO programs. It is the first weapon system developed specifically to defend against theater ballistic missiles. The THAAD system will provide upper tier defense for the Army's two-tier theater missile defense concept. The higher altitude and theater-wide protection offered by THAAD will provide more protection of larger theater areas than lower-tier systems alone. THAAD is being designed to defend against both medium- and long-range ballistic missiles. THAAD is a completely integrated weapon system consisting of radars; a battle management, command, control, communication and intelligence (BM/C3I) segment; launchers and missiles.
The program is managed and funded by BMDO and executed by the Army Program Executive Office for Air and Missile Defense and the Army THAAD Project Office in Huntsville, Ala. Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space is the prime contractor. The Raytheon Company builds the THAAD radar. The Army Space and Missile Defense Command in Huntsville, Ala. manages the Hera target used in this test. Coleman Research Corporation and Aerotherm Corporation are the contractors for Hera targets.
Video of the flight test will also be available for satellite downlink Thursday at 2 p.m. EDT. It will be available on the GSTAR 4 satellite, Ku band, transponder 11 upper, left audio 6.2, right audio 6.8, downlink frequency 11881 vertical.