The US Army has announced that it has deployed the newly developed Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) remote launch capability, in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).

The move was to demonstrate the capability of the THAAD system in defending the islands, located in the north-western Pacific Ocean.

This comes after a THAAD launcher was moved from Guam to Rota, CNMI. E-3 Air Defense Battery, as well as the Joint Region Marianas, Pacific Air Forces, and several Air Force wings, supported the deployment.

Task Force Talon Officer in Charge Major Kyle Hermanson said: “The things that all had to come together to make this a successful mission exemplified the idea of joint operations.

“Joint Region Marianas, 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, Pacific Air Forces, E-3 THAAD, Guam National Guard Security Forces, all came together to make this one of the most successful air defence missions in the [area of responsibility].”

THAAD is an air defence system that can intercept hostile incoming threats such as ballistic missiles.

According to a US Army statement, the deployment marks the first use of the THAAD remote launch capability outside of testing.

E3 executive officer 1st lieutenant Peter Gonsalves said: “The exercise was to demonstrate a new capability we received January, the remote launch kit. We worked with the leadership of Guam and CNMI to find a suitable location on Rota, brought a launcher, and wanted to send a message that we can defend the entirety of CNMI.”

The movement of the THAAD launcher to Rota is temporary, the statement added.