US Tests THAAD Missile Defence System

A United States-built missile defense system on Tuesday successfully intercepted its target during a test run, the US Missile Defense Agency said. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system successfully shot down a target over Alaska, according to a news release.

"I couldn't be more proud of the government and contractor team who executed this flight test today," said MDA Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves in the statement. "This test further demonstrates the capabilities of the THAAD weapon system and its ability to intercept and destroy ballistic missile threats." An official with the US Department of Defense told CNN the test is not related to North Korea's recent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch.

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.

It's is designed to shoot down short, medium and intermediate ballistic missiles with shorter ranges than the ICBM that North Korea launched July 4.

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 -- basically just its sheer speed. Some analysts liken it to shooting down a bullet with another bullet.

Courtesy:CNN

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