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US test on North Korea defence ‘flawless’, says Lockheed Martin

Tuesday - 11/07/2017 21:11
THE US military has conducted a successful test of a missile intercept system, officials said overnight, as tensions soar following North Korea’s test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could potentially reach Alaska.
A US missile defence system called Terminal High Altitude Area Defence, or THAAD, is seen at a golf course in Seongju, South Korea. Picture: AP
A US missile defence system called Terminal High Altitude Area Defence, or THAAD, is seen at a golf course in Seongju, South Korea. Picture: AP

The test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system saw a ballistic missile target air-launched from an Air Force C-17 over the Pacific Ocean north of Hawaii.

“A THAAD weapon system located at (Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska) in Kodiak, Alaska, detected, tracked and intercepted the target,” the US Missile Defense Agency said in a statement.

US President Donald Trump has warned North Korea against escalation. Picture: AP
US President Donald Trump has warned North Korea against escalation. Picture: APSource:AP
 
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) celebrating the successful test-fire of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 at an undisclosed location. Picture: AFP
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) celebrating the successful test-fire of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 at an undisclosed location. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

THAAD is designed to intercept and destroy short, medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles during their final phase of flight.

THAAD maker Lockheed Martin said this was the first time the system had intercepted an intermediate-range ballistic missile.

Richard McDaniel, a Lockheed vice president, said in a statement that the system had performed “flawlessly.”

Though such exercises are planned months in advance, it comes after North Korea’s first-ever test-firing last week of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching parts of the United States including Alaska.

The North Korean government shows what was said to be the launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile, ICBM, in North Korea's northwest. Picture: AP
The North Korean government shows what was said to be the launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile, ICBM, in North Korea's northwest. Picture: APSource:AP

THAAD is not designed to stop an ICBM — that job is left primarily to the Ground-based Midcourse Defence (GMD) interceptor system.

The US military this year began deploying THAAD to South Korea, a move that infuriated China, which has argued the deployment would further destabilise the situation on the Korean peninsula.

This was the 14th successful intercept in 14 attempts for the THAAD weapon system, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the government and contractor team who executed this flight test today,” MDA Director Lieutenant General Sam Greaves said in the statement.

“This test further demonstrates the capabilities of the THAAD weapon system and its ability to intercept and destroy ballistic missile threats. THAAD continues to protect our citizens, deployed forces and allies from a real and growing threat.”

A South Korean protester wearing a mask of US President Donald Trump marches toward the US embassy during a rally against the deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in Seoul in June. Picture: AFP
A South Korean protester wearing a mask of US President Donald Trump marches toward the US embassy during a rally against the deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in Seoul in June. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

The US also has a THAAD system installed in Guam.

THAAD uses “hit-to-kill” technology where kinetic energy from the interceptor missile destroys an incoming target.

“The successful demonstration of THAAD against an (intermediate)-range missile threat bolsters the country’s defensive capability against developing missile threats in North Korea and other countries around the globe and contributes to the broader strategic deterrence architecture,” the MDA said.

Source: News Corp Australia Network:

 Key: North Korea, US, THAAD

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