US Conducts Successful THAAD Test

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On July 30, the United States conducted an intercept test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system. The test was deemed successful, with THAAD intercepting a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) target. This was the 15th successful intercept in 15 attempts for the operational version of the THAAD weapon system.

The Missile Defense Agency released the following statement concerning the test:

THAAD Intercepts Test Target
July 30, 2017

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Army soldiers of the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade from Fort Bliss, Texas, conducted a successful missile defense test today using the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.

A medium-range target ballistic missile (MRBM) was air-launched by a U.S. Air Force C-17 over the Pacific Ocean. The THAAD weapon system located at Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak, Alaska, detected, tracked and intercepted the target.

The test, designated Flight Experiment THAAD (FET)-01, was conducted to gather threat data from a THAAD interceptor in flight.

“In addition to successfully intercepting the target, the data collected will allow MDA to enhance the THAAD weapon system, our modeling and simulation capabilities, and our ability to stay ahead of the evolving threat,” said MDA Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves.

Soldiers from the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade conducted launcher, fire control and radar operations using the same procedures they would use in an actual combat scenario. Soldiers operating the equipment were not aware of the actual target launch time.

This was the 15th successful intercept in 15 tests for the THAAD weapon system.

The THAAD element provides a globally-transportable, rapidly-deployable capability to intercept ballistic missiles inside or outside the atmosphere during their final, or terminal, phase of flight. THAAD is strictly a defensive weapon system. The system uses hit-to-kill technology where kinetic energy destroys the incoming target.

The mission of the Missile Defense Agency is to develop and deploy a layered ballistic missile defense system to defend the United States, its deployed forces, allies and friends from ballistic missile attacks of all ranges in all phases of flight.

Learn more about the THAAD missile defense system.

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Missile Defense Project, "US Conducts Successful THAAD Test," Missile Threat, Center for Strategic and International Studies, July 31, 2017, last modified June 15, 2018,