US MDA tests THAAD system’s remote launcher capability

3 September 2019 (Last Updated June 11th, 2020 12:09)

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the US Army have conducted a remote launcher test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.

US MDA tests THAAD system’s remote launcher capability
Lockheed Martin’s THAAD System used remote launch capability to successfully detect, track and intercept a threat representative target. Credit: Missile Defense Agency.

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the US Army have conducted a remote launcher test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.

The missile defence test featured Lockheed Martin’s THAAD system located at US Army Garrison Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

The test demonstrated the ability of the THAAD system to detect, track, and intercept a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) target.

During the test, the system used a THAAD launcher to intercept the threat representative target. Lockheed Martin stated that the launcher was placed at a distance from other THAAD end equipment.

The procedure involved detection, acquisition and tracking by the radar, followed by a fire control solution and firing an interceptor from a launcher located remotely.

The interceptor destroyed the MRBM target’s re-entry vehicle.

Lockheed Martin Upper Tier Integrated Air and Missile Defense Systems vice-president Richard McDaniel said: “The enhanced THAAD system performed flawlessly in today’s test, and we are proud to support the Missile Defense Agency and US Army as they continue to demonstrate the system’s unmatched capabilities.

“This successful test paves the way for delivery of an urgent need capability that will enhance THAAD’s emplacement options resulting in greater asset protection.”

The demonstration showcased the capability of the THAAD system to physically untether the launcher from the battle manager, as well as the remote launching capability.

Lockheed Martin’s THAAD is designed to defend against ballistic missile threats and uses hit-to-kill technology to destroy targets.

The technology neutralises lethal payloads before they reach ground-based protected assets.

The THAAD system is interoperable with the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (PAC-3 MSE) missile and other ballistic missile defence system (BMDS) elements.

In a statement, MDA said: “Preliminary indications are that planned flight test objectives were achieved and the target was successfully intercepted by the THAAD weapon system.”

The interceptor test represented the first time the THAAD system used a government-developed remote launcher kit to intercept the target.

Programme officials will assess data obtained from the test to evaluate the performance of the system.

MDA director vice-admiral Jon Hill said: “This test demonstrates the expanding capabilities of the THAAD weapon system and its ability to intercept and destroy ballistic missile threats in defence of our nation, deployed forces and allies.”