July 11 (UPI) -- The Missile Defense Agency announced Tuesday it successfully intercepted a target during a test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile defense system.
Orbital ATK is touting the Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile target it supplied in MDA's test of the Lockheed Martin-built THAAD system held earlier on Tuesday.
The THAAD is part of the U.S. missile shield against intermediate-range ballistic missiles. THAAD launchers have been sold to several allied nations and have reportedly been delivered to South Korea to bolster defenses there.
Orbital ATK said in the latest THAAD test its target missile was air-dropped North of Hawaii by parachute from the cargo hold of a C-17 aircraft before its rockets ignited and the missile simulated an intermediate range ballistic missile threat.
THAAD radars detected, acquired and tracked the target and developed a fire control solution. The interceptor was then launched, destroying the target's re-entry vehicle through kinetic force.
The test Tuesday was the 14th successful intercept in 14 attempts for the THAAD weapon system.
"I couldn't be more proud of the government and contractor team who executed this flight test today," MDA Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves said in a press release. "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."
Taking part in the test were MDA and elements of the U.S. Army, Joint Forces Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Coast Guard, Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska, Ballistic Missile Defense Operational Test Agency, Department of Defense Operational Test and Evaluation, and the Army Test and Evaluation Command.
Orbital ATK is currently building 16 target vehicles through 2019 under a $1.4 billion contract.
"Orbital ATK designed the IRBM to provide more flexible targets at a lower cost to meet the customer's current and future needs," Rich Straka, vice president and general manager of Orbital ATK's Launch Vehicles Division, said in a press release. "Congratulations to our Orbital ATK employees and the entire MDA team for mission success on this flight test."