No. 147-M

The fifth intercept attempt by the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) program, originally scheduled for December, has been delayed until early 1998. Program officials are in the process of scheduling a new flight test date.

During a recent inspection of the THAAD system's inertial measurement unit (IMU), a Lockheed Martin team found that the interceptor's IMU was providing abnormal readings indicative of a possible component failure. Officials from the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) and the U.S. Army made the decision to replace the IMU, and subsequently delay the fifth interception test.

The IMU is a critical component of the THAAD system. The THAAD missile is designed to fly to a programmed point in space where the missile's target seeker takes over to home in on the target. The IMU within the seeker provides critical guidance information necessary for the interceptor missile to lock on and destroy the intended target. An IMU component failure could have kept the THAAD missile from intercepting the target during the scheduled December test. The full scale intercept test will be conducted as soon as practical after the IMU components have been replaced and re-inspected.

The BMDO point of contact is Lt. Col. Rick Lehner, (703) 695-8743, ext. 6129.