Big U.S. missile defense test a success

Oct. 25, 2012 at 4:10 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- The largest test of the U.S. missile defense system conducted over the Pacific was carried out against five targets, the Pentagon said Thursday.

The Missile Defense Agency said Army, Air Force and Navy units took part in the test, simultaneously engaged the incoming ballistic and cruise missiles over the western Pacific and apparently knocking out all but one of the targets.

"Soldiers, sailors and airmen from multiple combat commands operated the systems and were provided a unique opportunity to refine operational doctrine and tactics," the MDA said in a written statement. "Program officials continue to assess and evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test."

The test was centered off Hawaii and the Reagan Test Site on remote Kwajalein Atoll, and involved a mix of cruise missiles plus medium and short-range ballistic missiles. The goal was to intercept the missiles using the sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense and land-based Patriot and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense systems.

"Initial indications are that the THAAD system successfully intercepted its first medium range ballistic target in history, and Patriot Advanced Capability-3 near simultaneously destroyed a short range ballistic missile and a low flying cruise missile target over water.

The destroyer USS Fitzgerald splashed a low-flying cruise missile; however, there was no evidence it successfully intercepted a short-range ballistic missile.

The test results increased the number of kills made by the Ballistic Missile Defense System to 56 out of 71 targets since the first test flight in 2001, the MDA said.

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