USA successfully tests THAAD missile defense in Alaska

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system was able to shoot down a target over Alaska during a test-run Tuesday, according to a news release published by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

The THAAD system in Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak then detected, tracked and intercepted the target.

According to #Lockheed Martin, the airspace and the security company that serves as the main contractor for the team, Each THAAD system consists of five key components: interceptors, launchers, radars, firefighting units and support devices.

THAAD interceptor seen here launched on its tenth test flight.

But on July 4, North Korea launched a missile with an even longer range, which some experts believe could be capable of reaching as far as Alaska. The intercept took place 2,500 miles south of Alaska, near Hawaii, demonstrating THAAD's strategic defense capabilities, particularly against the threat types now presented from North Korea.

The test was planned months ago, but comes amid rising tension with North Korea over its weapons programme.

But as Foxtrot Alpha has consistently reported, we can't put too much stock in these missile defense tests, be it THAAD or the Ground-midcourse Defense system.

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Its presence is vociferously opposed by China, Russia and North Korea, which all say THAAD is fueling an arms race.

The escalation of Pyongyang's nuclear program also has prompted a closer look at the effectiveness of missile defense systems maintained by the United States and its allies.

However, Beijing and Moscow say the system deployed to South Korea "gravely damages strategic safety interests of regional powers, including Russian Federation and China, and do not contribute to the "de-nuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula, as well as towards establishing peace and stability in the region".

China and Russian Federation both fear the system's advanced radar could be used to peer into their own territory.

With little communication or cooperation between the US and Russia about missile launches, Lewis warns that an attempt at intercepting a North Korean nuclear attack could spook the Russians so bad that they respond with a full-on nuclear attack that would leave much of the USA reduced to ashes.

It is also possible Russian Federation legitimately thinks the missile was far short of an ICBM because their early warning system "stinks" as Lewis put it on Twitter.

That test involved firing a new version of the military's single long-range, ground-based interceptor missile, which is now based in Alaska and California.

  • Megan Austin