Aug. 30 (UPI) -- The first test of a remotely launched Terminal High Altitude Area Defense interceptor missile was called a success on Friday by the Missile Defense Agency.
"The test, designated Flight Test THAAD (FTT)-23, was the first time the THAAD system used a government-developed remote launcher kit that extended the range of the defended area," the agency said.
The THAAD system, made by Lockheed Martin, is designed to intercept threats from inside and outside the Earth's atmosphere. It has had 16 consecutive successful launches and interceptions, but the test early Friday demonstrated the capability of engaging the system remotely with a government-developed remote launcher kit.
The test was conducted at the U.S. Army Garrison Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands by the U.S. Army's E-62 Battery of the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.
Radar operations, as well as launcher and fire control operations, were conducted during Friday's test. Those in the battery firing the missile used a combat procedure and were unaware of the target-launch timing.
The ability to launch an interceptor remotely achieves a more layered approach to regional ballistic missile defense.
"The enhanced THAAD system performed flawlessly in today's test, and we are proud to support the Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Army as they continue to demonstrate the system's unmatched capabilities," Richard McDaniel, Lockheed Martin's vice president of Upper Tier Integrated Air and Missile Defense Systems, said in a press release. "This successful test paves the way for delivery of an urgent need capability that will enhance THAAD's emplacement options resulting in greater asset protection."