Air Force Says Missile Defense Test Over White Sands Successful - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/13/06-WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M.

Air Force Says Missile Defense Test Over White Sands Successful

The rising sun lights a contrail pattern made by a missile test launch at the White Sands Missile Range in the sky over Phoenix, Ariz., early Wednesday. The launch was a test of the Missile Defense Agency's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system. (AP The rising sun lights a contrail pattern made by a missile test launch at the White Sands Missile Range in the sky over Phoenix, Ariz., early Wednesday. The launch was a test of the Missile Defense Agency's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system. (AP

 The Air Force has successfully tested a high-altitude missile defense system.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, called THAAD, is designed to intercept and destroy short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles high within the Earth's atmosphere or just above the atmosphere in the final moments before it strikes its target.

"When put into the hands of soldiers, it can defend a wide area against ballistic missiles," said Pam Rogers, a spokeswoman for the Missile Defense Agency.

Crews launched a Hera target missile Wednesday morning, and the test successfully intercepted it. Each of the THAAD components were tested, including the launcher, radar, communications and interceptor or the seeker.

"The primary objective was to ensure that the seeker actually could see the target and say to the system, 'That's the target I'm looking for,' " Rogers said.

Two previous THADD tests, also conducted at the southern New Mexico missile range, focused on the interceptor's flight and performance.

Rogers said each test adds some complexity to the test program.

Source: AP

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