U.S. Completes Largest Missile Defense Flight Test in History
We typically only hear about missile launches that are designed to demonstrate a certain attack capability over certain ranges.
Missile launches designed to defend against hostile missiles are rarely published. However, the government's Missile Defense Agency (MDA) whose purpose is to defend the U.S. against missile attacks recently published information about what the organization says was the "largest missile defense flight test in history."
The test involved the MDA, U.S. Army soldiers from the 94th and 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, U.S. Navy sailors on the USS FITZGERALD and airmen from the 613th Air and Space Operations Center as well as five ballistic missile and cruise missile targets. According to a blog post, the defense system took out five ballistic missile and cruise missile targets simultaneously. The MDA stated that its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system "successfully intercepted its first Medium Range Ballistic target in history, and PATRIOT Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) near simultaneously destroyed a Short Range Ballistic Missile and a low flying cruise missile target over water." Key to the successful test was an "integrated air and ballistic missile defense architecture used multiple sensors and missile defense systems."
The demonstration was conducted at the U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll/Reagan Test Site, Hickam Air Force Base, as well as surrounding areas in the western Pacific, the MDA said. Since 2001, the MDA aid that it had 56 successful hit-to-kill intercepts in 71 flight test attempts.