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Friday, June 27, 2008

Missile defense success: First intercept of warhead after separating from missile

WASHINGTON — A U.S. missile defense system sought by several Middle East countries has intercepted a missile with a separating warhead.

A test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) successfully intercepted a warhead on June 25. Lockheed Martin
In the first such achievement, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, shot down a target warhead that separated from the booster missile.

The June 25 test, which took place at the Pacific Missile Range Facility off the island of Kauai in Hawaii, marked the fifth successful intercept for the THAAD program in five attempts.

Several Middle East states, including Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have been briefed on THAAD, Middle East Newsline reported. The UAE was said to have relayed its interest to purchase a THAAD system over the next year. "The primary objective of this highly operationally realistic test was to demonstrate target acquisition, tracking and aimpoint selection by the avionics software contained in the THAAD interceptor, and to intercept a separating target," the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said.

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"Another objective was to observe the effects of an interceptor launch on adjacent missile canisters in the THAAD launcher."

In May, THAAD, developed by Lockheed Martin, was introduced into the U.S. Army. For the first time, THAAD was operated by air defense personnel during the test.

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