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United States to conduct test of THAAD missile defense system

By Daniel Uria
United States to conduct test of THAAD missile defense system
The first of two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors is launched during a successful intercept test on March 10, 2013. The U.S. Department Department Missile Defense Agency announced plans to test the THAAD system in early July 2017. Photo by Ralph Scott/DoD/UPI | License Photo

July 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department Department Missile Defense Agency announced plans to conduct a new test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system.

Missile Defense Agency spokesman Chris Johnson said an exact date for the THAAD test will not be disclosed, but is expected some time in the coming days.

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The weapon system, housed at the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak, Alaska, is part of the United States' missile defense system designed to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles during flight.

THAAD is able shoot down short, medium and intermediate ballistic missiles and the test will have the system attempt to detect, track and engage a target with an interceptor missile.

Lockheed Martin said each THAAD system features five key components that include interceptors, launchers, a radar, a fire control unit and support equipment.

Oncoming missiles are detected by THAAD's radar, allowing individuals manning the system to identify the threat. A launcher attached to a truck then fires a projectile, known as an interceptor, to destroy the ballistic missile with kinetic energy.

A DOD official said the impending test is not related to North Korea's launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday.

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In May the Pentagon successfully shot down a mock ballistic missile in a test of its ground-based intercept system.

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