Today at 12:20 a.m. EST, the intercept test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) was successful off of the coast of Hawaii at the Pacific Missile Range Facility near Kauai. This intercept once again validates the United States technical and political will to defeat and destroy ballistic missiles from rogue nations such as Iran and North Korea. Today’s test was another positive step in the development of the system.
This fifth missile defense intercept since June of 2006 builds more and more confidence in our technical and operational capability to defeat ballistic missile attacks. The THAAD missile system is the next layer in our current deployed missile defense systems which are based world-wide that includes the ground-based GBI’s, Aegis Sea-Based SM-3 missiles and the ground based Patriot 3 systems. This demonstration of the THAAD system will question the investment that both Iran and North Korea are putting into offensive ballistic missiles.
The test marks the first use of the THAAD system in the Pacific Test Range Facility in Hawaii where the system was fully able to extend its range to intercept a single stage SCUD-like target over the Pacific Ocean. The THAAD system provides redundancy as well as a defense shield of lower space and upper atmosphere that has not been defended by the other three deployed systems. Because of this capability, the THAAD system has a much greater area of protection than that of the Patriot 3 system. This system is much needed by our combat commanders around the world for protection for deployed forces, our allies and their cities.
Our government is moving to deploy two THAAD systems which comprise of 48 missiles and two radars and should be deployed in the near future to regions where the threat is highest such as the Persian Gulf, South Korea and Japan.
Today’s THAAD intercept success also represents a true-bipartisan effort where Democrat Representative Silvestre Reyes of Texas and Republican Representative Terry Everett of Alabama have both championed this system from conception to where it is today.