News Release

No. 127-99
IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 29, 1999 (703)697-5737(public/industry)


The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) and the U.S. Army announced today that a Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor did not achieve intercept of a Hera missile target in a flight test at the White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The flight did, however, provide additional data that will be usable in future development of theater missile defense systems. The test occurred at 7:13 a.m. (EST) this morning.

The test occurred at high altitude over the central portion of the White Sands National Missile Range. The Hera target, which simulated a Scud ballistic missile such as those seen during Operation Desert Storm, was launched seven minutes before the intercept test. All THAAD elements participated, demonstrating integrated performance of the entire system. This test incorporated an upgraded seeker on the missile and corrected numerous problems encountered on earlier intercept attempts.

Today's test was the ninth in a planned series of THAAD Program Definition and Risk Reduction (PDRR) flight tests to verify the THAAD prototype design and performance of the system components.

THAAD uses technologies developed in earlier BMDO programs. It is the first weapon

system developed specifically to defend against theater ballistic missiles. The THAAD system is designed to provide upper tier defense for the Army's two-tier theater missile defense concept. The high-altitude, theater-wide protection offered by THAAD will provide more protection of larger theater areas than lower-tier systems alone. THAAD is being designed to defend against both short and medium range ballistic missiles. THAAD is a completely integrated weapon system consisting of radars; a battle management, command, control, communication and intelligence (BM/C3I) segment; and launchers and missiles.

The program is managed and funded by BMDO. It is executed by the Army Program Executive Office for Air and Missile Defense and the Army THAAD Project Manager in

Huntsville, Ala. Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space is the prime contractor. The Raytheon Co. builds the THAAD Radar. The Army Space and Missile Defense Command in Huntsville, Ala. manages the Hera target used in this test. Coleman Research Corp. and Aerotherm Corp. are the contractors for Hera targets.