Today’s anti-missile launch ends Scud-like target tests
BARKING SANDS, Kauai » U.S. Missile Defense Agency officials announced plans today for another test of the ground-based missile defense system off the Pacific Missile Range Facility.
The test of the Army's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system is the third such test of the system on Kauai. The previous two tests, in January and March, were in shooting down a target missile launched from a ship in waters off Kauai's west side.
At a blessing for the test yesterday, Tom McGrath, project manager for Lockheed Martin, which has a contract to build and test THAAD, said today's test marks the end of the first phase of testing for the Army's ground-based system.
It's the last time a test will try to destroy a unitary, or Scud-type single-phase rocket, he said. Missile range tests next year will be of multiphase, booster-type rockets.
"It's a big, big milestone for the THAAD program," McGrath added at the blessing for the 300 or so THAAD engineers, support staff and Army and ballistic missile defense personnel.
The group was also joined by military observers from Australia, Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
In today's test, a rocket launched from a sea-based platform will exit the Earth's atmosphere and will be tracked by the THAAD radar. Just minutes later, a rocket sent from the mobile launcher stationed at PMRF will attempt to intercept and destroy it.
THAAD is one of two ballistic missile defense programs currently tested at the Kauai missile range. The Navy's sea-based Aegis system, which is already deployed on ships around the globe, also undergoes tests at the range. Worldwide deployment of THAAD will take place in 2010, officials said.