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U.S. military announces THAAD test in Alaska as soon as this weekend

The U.S. Coast Guard issued an advisory that a second missile defense test from Kodiak Island could be conducted in the next several days.

By
Stephen Carlson
A flight test of the THAAD anti-ballistic missile system by the Missile Defense Agency. Photo courtesy of the Missile Defense Agency
A flight test of the THAAD anti-ballistic missile system by the Missile Defense Agency. Photo courtesy of the Missile Defense Agency

July 24 (UPI) -- The U.S. military intends to conduct another missile defense test from Kodiak Island as soon as this weekend, according to an advisory from the U.S. Coast Guard.

The test will be conducted from the Pacific Spaceport Complex -Alaska. The Coast Guard recommended that vessels should avoid areas of oceans between Kodiak Island and Hawaii.

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The U.S. Army has soldiers stationed at the launch complex as part of the Missile Defense Agency's testing of the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense ballistic missile defense system. A successful flight test for targeting intermediate range ballistic missiles was conducted earlier this month.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system is designed to intercept incoming enemy ballistic missiles as they begin their terminal descent phase inside and just outside of the atmosphere.

The system is designed to easily integrate its sensor and targeting data with other ballistic missile defense systems such as the Patriot PAC-3 ground based missile and the AEGIS Standard Missile-3 ship-based interceptor. This provides layered defenses at different stages of the enemy missile's flight.

The interceptor uses its own kinetic energy to directly impact and destroy the missile in a "hit-to-kill," rather than the blast-fragmentation proximity warhead used on most surface-to-air missiles.

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North Korean missile tests have led to deployments of THAAD to South Korea amid controversy and Chinese concerns over the THAADs ability to track their missiles and aircraft. THAAD launchers are also stationed in the U.S. territory of Guam in the western Pacific.

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