No. 228-98
(703) 695-0192(media)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 12, 1998 (703) 697-5737(public/industry)


The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) and the U.S. Army said today that a Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile failed to intercept a target ballistic missile in a test at the White Sands Missile Range, N.M. This was the eighth test of the THAAD System and the fifth flight test for interception.

Preliminary investigation indicates that the THAAD missile lost control shortly after launch. The missile impacted on the White Sands Missile Range about 2 miles north of the launch site. The THAAD interceptor and target debris landed on the White Sands Missile Range as planned in the event of a failed intercept. Analysis of the flight data is underway to determine the cause of the malfunction.

THAAD is the first weapon system designed specifically to defend American troops in the field against missile attacks. The Patriot System used during Operation Desert Storm was designed as an anti-aircraft system, and modified for use against ballistic missiles. The THAAD program is managed and funded by BMDO and executed by the Army Program Executive Office for Air and Missile Defense, and the Army THAAD Project Manager in Huntsville, Ala. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space is the prime contractor, and Raytheon Company builds the THAAD radar system. The Army Space and Missile Command in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Hera target used in the THAAD tests. Coleman Research Corporation and Aerotherm Corp. are the contractors for the Hera targets.

For more information on the THAAD test, please contact Maj. Co Woods in BMDO's Office of External Affairs at (703) 695-8743, ext. 6128.