U.S. tests THAAD missile defence, shoots down 1st IRBM over Alaska

| Updated: Jul 12, 2017 03:19 IST

New York [U.S.A.], July 11 (ANI): The United States on Tuesday announced the successful test of its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system by shooting down an intermediate-range ballistic missile over the Pacific Ocean, thus increasing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. The THAAD system manages to detect, track and shoot down the IRBM target launched from the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak, Alaska, on Tuesday, the MDA said in a statement. "This test further demonstrates the capabilities of the THAAD weapon system and its ability to intercept and destroy ballistic missile threats," The Hill quoted MDA Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves, as saying. "The THAAD continues to protect our citizens, deployed forces and allies from a real and growing threat." For the first time, the THAAD missile defence test was conducted on an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), which was prompted after North Korea's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on July 4. Tuesday's successful test of U.S. anti-missile also keeps up THAAD's perfect testing record, with 14 of 14 tests ending successfully. In the test, the IRBM was launched by a U.S. Air Force C-17 over the Pacific Ocean north of Hawaii, according to the MDA. The THAAD is designed to shoot down short, medium and intermediate ballistic missiles with shorter ranges than the ICBM that North Korea launched.The test will involve the THAAD seeking to detect, track and engage a target with an interceptor missile. "Each THAAD system is comprised of 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. "Soldiers from the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade conducted launcher, fire control and radar operations using the same procedures they would use in an actual combat scenario," the MDA said in a news release. "Soldiers operating the equipment were not aware of the actual target launch time." Preliminary indications showed that the flight test objectives were met and that the IRBM was successfully intercepted, the agency added. The THAAD is considered the most advanced of the U.S. missile defence systems with the longest range at about 200 kilometers. It's designed to shoot down short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. A system has been deployed to South Korea to address the threat from Pyongyang but both Russia and China have opposed the deployment of THAAD. (ANI)