No. 080-M

The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) and the U.S. Army plan to intercept a target ballistic missile in a flight test scheduled for Tuesday, May 25,1999, at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), N.M. This will be the 10th test in a series of 13 flight tests currently planned in the Program Definition and Risk Reduction phase of the development of the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. If the test goes as planned, the THAAD interceptor upper stage kill vehicle will hit and destroy the target.

The flight tests are intended to verify the design and performance of the prototype THAAD system components. This will be the sixth flight test in which all the THAAD prototype components have participated. The THAAD radar will function as the primary target and interceptor tracking sensor and will communicate in-flight target updates to the interceptor. The mobile Battle Management/Command, Control, Communication, and Intelligence (BM/C3I) system will develop the target intercept engagement solutions for the interceptor. The THAAD Palletized Load System design launcher will launch the interceptor.

Although intercept is the primary goal, another primary objective of this test is to obtain the data required to verify system models and computer simulations. The models and simulations are used to establish system performance to validate a new, improved seeker and the performance of the THAAD radar. The key data needed to prove that the simulations are correct is the "endgame." The endgame is the final few seconds of flight when data from the on-board seeker is used by the missile avionics, or computer, along with the divert and attitude control propulsion system to detect, track, and guide the kill vehicle to a hit on the target. Limited data has been achieved on past flights, but the endgame has not yet been reached.

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 Office in Huntsville, Alabama. Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space is the prime contractor. The Raytheon Company builds the THAAD radar.

For more information contact the BMDO public affairs office at (703) 695-8743, ext. 6128, or visit their Internet web site at

BMDO officials plan to make video of the flight test available for satellite downlink Tuesday at 2 p.m. (EDT). It will be available on the Telstar 4 satellite, Ku band, transponder 12 upper, left audio 6.2, right audio 6.8, downlink frequency 12059 horizontal.