US set to test THAAD missile defence system; details under wraps

08 July 2017

The US Missile Defence Agency plans to conduct a long-planned flight test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missile system within the next few days, the media reported.

The move comes close after North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch, but US officials said the THAAD test is not related to the development.

The exact date of the planned test is not being disclosed until it has taken place. The THAAD is based at the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak, Alaska, a Department of Defence official told CNN late Friday.

The THAAD is designed to shoot down short, medium and intermediate ballistic missiles with shorter ranges than the inter-continental ballistic missile that North Korea launched on Tuesday.

The test will involve a THAAD interceptor missile seeking to detect, track and engage a target, CNN quoted the official as saying.

 Each Thaad system has five major components: interceptors, launchers, a radar, a fire control unit and support equipment, according to Lockheed Martin, the security and aerospace company that serves as the prime contractor for the equipment.

The radar first detects an incoming missile, those manning the system identify the threat, then a launcher mounted to a truck fires a projectile, which Lockheed Martin calls an "interceptor", at the ballistic missile in the hopes of destroying it using kinetic energy.

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