US readies Pacific missile tests to counter attacks

By AP July 23,2017

Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system launcher. (US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE/ LOCKHEED MARTIN PHOTO)

Kodiak, Alaska, United States — The US Coast Guard is warning ships and other mariners to stay clear of the sea between Kodiak Island and Hawaii in the Pacific for several hours as the Army tests missiles to counter threats posed by attackers.

Test missiles will be launched from Kodiak at the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska between 7 p.m. on July 29 and 1:30 a.m. on July 30, according to a US Coast Guard notice released Wednesday.

Alternative times for the launch are listed as between 7 p.m. on July 30 and 1:30 a.m. on July 31, or between 7 p.m. on July 31 and 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 1.
Mariners are advised to remain clear of swaths of ocean between Kodiak Island and Hawaii during those time periods.

US Army soldiers are stationed temporarily at the launch complex for US Missile Defense Agency testing of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported.

The US Missile Defense Agency successfully completed a Flight Test THAAD-18 operation from Kodiak earlier this month. That test “validated THAAD’s ability to intercept intermediate range ballistic missiles,” said Chris Johnson, US Missile Defense Agency director of public affairs.

The FTT-18 test, which occurred during the night between July 10 and 11, included the launch of “two interceptors from two co-located launchers,” Johnson wrote in an e-mail to the Kodiak Daily Mirror. “The first missile engaged the target. The second interceptor was launched to test operational procedures.”

A second test from the site, called the FTT-15, will test the system’s ability to intercept a medium-range ballistic missile within the earth’s atmosphere, said Leah Garton of US Missile Defense Agency public affairs.

THAAD, which currently has a 100 percent success rate in 14 tests, uses a direct hit to intercept a target in its final phase of flight. THAAD systems have been placed in Guam and South Korea to counter missile threats from North Korea.

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