418th FLTS supports Missile Defense Agency test success


A C-17 Globemaster III assigned to the 418th Flight Test Squadron air-launched a ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean north of Hawaii on July 11.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon system located at Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska (PSCA) in Kodiak, Alaska, detected, tracked and intercepted the target.

Preliminary indications are that planned flight test objectives were achieved and the threat-representative, intermediate-range ballistic missile target was successfully intercepted by the THAAD weapon system, according to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA).

The test, designated Flight Test THAAD-18 (FTT-18), was executed by MDA, and supported by elements of the US Army Joint Forces Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense (JFCC IMD), US Air Force, US Coast Guard, Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska, Ballistic Missile Defense Operational Test Agency, DoD Operational Test and Evaluation, and the US Army Test and Evaluation Command.

“The 418th is proud to provide best-in-the-world, test airdrop support to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA),” said Lt. Col. Paul Calhoun, 418th FLTS commander. “We have cultivated unique airdrop capabilities and a relationship over the past few years culminating in this recent successful test.”

An MDA press release said this was the 14th successful intercept in 14 attempts for the THAAD weapon system. The THAAD element provides a globally-transportable, rapidly-deployable capability to intercept ballistic missiles inside or outside the atmosphere during their final, or terminal, phase of flight.

The MDA says THAAD is strictly a defense system. The system uses hit-to-kill technology whereby kinetic energy destroys the incoming target. The high-altitude intercept mitigates effects of enemy weapons before they reach the ground.

July 26, 2017

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