US to conduct another THAAD test amid growing Korean Peninsula tensions

Saturday, July 8, 2017
By Paul Martin
8 Jul, 2017

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has confirmed that it will soon carry out another test of its THAAD system to examine the hardware’s effectiveness against potential ballistic threats, Reuters reports.

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) flight test will be conducted by the MDA from the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska “in early July,” the agency confirmed to Reuters after it broke the news of the upcoming test.

THAAD test would “detect, track and engage a target” with an interceptor rocket, MDA spokesman Chris Johnson told Reuters.

“The test is designated as Flight Test THAAD (FTT)-18,” Johnson added without elaborating.

Earlier on Friday, two US officials told Reuters that the US military will test its THAAD batteries in the “coming days” in response to a North Korean rocket launch on July 4. The anti-missile test, however, was planned months in advance, officials claimed.

One of the anonymous sources noted that it will be the first THAAD test against a simulated attack by an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM).

Since 2006, the THAAD batteries have completed 13 flight tests with a reported 100 percent success rate. Produced by Lockheed Martin, THAAD provides the capability to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles inside or outside the atmosphere during the final phase of flight.

The batteries are now being deployed to South Korea to tackle potential threats emanating from Pyongyang. In Korea, the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, subordinate to the US Eighth Army, would operate the system.

On Tuesday, North Korea conducted the latest test of its missile technology. The Hwasong-14 missile, which allegedly flew for a distance of 933km (580 miles), reaching an altitude of 2,802km (1,741 miles) at the peak of the 39-minute flight, passed all the technical characteristics and requirements to be deemed an ICBM, North Korea announced.

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