Photo Credit: Leah Garton / Missile Defense Agency
FTT-18 Flight test of the THAAD anti-ballistic missile system.

The United States successfully tested its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system on Tuesday, (July 11) just a week after North Korea carried out a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) able to reach Alaska.

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The THAAD interceptor was launched from the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak, Alaska. During the test, the THAAD weapon system successfully intercepted an air-launched intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) target.

The THAAD system isn’t used to target ICBMs, but can intercept short and medium-range ballistic missiles. The ICBM tested by North Korea last week was an intermediate-range missile.

Tuesday’s test went smoothly, with the system intercepting 14 out of 14 targets over the Pacific Ocean north of Hawaii, according to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). A THAAD weapon system located at PSCA in Kodiak, Alaska, detected, tracked and intercepted the target.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the government and contractor team who executed this flight test today,” said MDA Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves. “This test further demonstrates the capabilities of the THAAD weapon system and its ability to intercept and destroy ballistic missile threats. THAAD continues to protect our citizens, deployed forces and allies from a real and growing threat.”

Soldiers from the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade conducted launcher, fire control and radar operations using the same procedures they would use in an actual combat scenario. Soldiers operating the equipment were not aware of the actual target launch time, the statement said.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.