KAUAI, Hawaii, 5 Dec. 2007. A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor guided by a BAE Systems' infrared seeker directly hit and destroyed an incoming target during a test at the Pacific Missile Range Facility.
The test was conducted by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and Lockheed Martin, the THAAD weapon system's prime contractor and systems integrator.
"In this test, THAAD missile intercepted its target at a higher altitude than any other test to date," said John Watkins, BAE Systems' THAAD program manager in Nashua, New Hampshire. "This test, combined with three previous intercepts, shows that THAAD can successfully take out an enemy ballistic missile."
THAAD is designed to defend U.S. and allied soldiers, military assets, and population centers from the threat of ballistic missile attacks. The sophisticated system destroys enemy warheads through direct "hit-to-kill" technology. "It's like hitting a bullet with a bullet," Watkins says.
The BAE Systems seeker provides infrared imagery of the targeted warhead to guide the interceptor to its target. This success is part of THAAD intercept testing that will continue through 2009. Upcoming tests at the Pacific Missile Range in Hawaii will be conducted against increasingly complex targets outside the earth's atmosphere.