Coast Guard: Missile Test Could Be Held Next Weekend

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor being fired during an exercise in 2013. (DoD photo)

KODIAK, Alaska — The U.S. will conduct as soon as next weekend another test of a missile defense system meant to counter threats from North Korea.

The launch from Alaska’s Kodiak Island is scheduled to occur at the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska, according to a U.S. Coast Guard notice. Mariners are advised to remain clear of swaths of ocean between Kodiak Island and Hawaii through the weekend.

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

The U.S. 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, U.S. Missile Defense Agency director of public affairs.

The FTT-18 test earlier this month included the launch of “two interceptors from two co-located launchers,” Johnson wrote in an email 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 U.S. 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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