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Weapons

MDA conducts THAAD intercept test using remote launcher

03 September 2019
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A THAAD interceptor is launched from the Reagan Test Site in Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands during Flight Test THAAD-23 on 30 August. Source: MDA

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA), Ballistic Missile Defense Operational Test Agency, and elements of the US Army E-62 Battery - 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade - on 30 August conducted the first intercept test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) rapidly-deployable ballistic missile defence weapon system using a remote launcher kit (RLK) developed by the MDA.

During the test, designated Flight Test THAAD-23 (FTT-23), a THAAD system deployed at Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll, in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, detected, tracked, and intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile threat representative target using a THAAD launcher positioned at distance from the other THAAD end items.

"A remoted THAAD launcher is like any other THAAD launcher but rather than being connected to the system via its organic fiber optic cable it is connected via an RLK allowing for much greater emplacement flexibility and consequently offering greatly expanded asset defence options," a Lockheed Martin spokesperson told Jane's .

"Preliminary indications are that planned flight test objectives were achieved and the target was successfully intercepted by the THAAD weapon system," the MDA said in a statement. "While initial indications show the test met its primary objective, program officials will continue to evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test."

FTT-23 marks the 16th successful intercept of 16 attempts for the THAAD weapon system. Developed by Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, THAAD is a key element of the US Ballistic Missile Defense architecture. A THAAD battery typically comprises six truck-mounted launchers, 48 THAAD endo/exoatmospheric kinetic kill interceptors (eight per launcher), one X-band active electronically scanned Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance-2 (AN/TPY-2) ground-based radar system, and one Tactical Fire Control/Communications component.

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