The US has conducted a $230 million worth test of a layered missile defense system, which has the ability of Aegis and THAAD weapons systems to identify and destroy ballistic and cruise missiles at once.
The test involved a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system built by Lockheed Martin , two AN/TPY-2 radar systems built by Raytheon, Lockheed's Command, Control, Battle Management and Communications system, and the USS John Paul Jones destroyer with its AN/SPY-1 radar.
This was a highly complex operational test of the BMDS which required all elements to work together in an integrated layered defense design to detect, track, discriminate, engage, and negate the ballistic missile threats, missile Defense Agency announced Sunday.
During the test, a THAAD system on Wake Island detected and destroyed a short-range target simulating a short-range ballistic missile that was launched by a C-17 transport plane.
At the same time, the THAAD system and the destroyer both launched missiles to intercept a medium range ballistic missile, launched by a second C-17. THAAD hit the target, but the Raytheon SM-3 Block IB missile failed early in its flight and missed.
"If one missile doesn't work, you have another system to use against enemy threats," Riki Ellison, founder of the nonprofit Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance said.
THAAD's ability to hit the second target showed the importance of having a layered missile defense system. While the first two threats were being addressed, the Navy Aegis destroyer also intercepted a BQM-74E target built by Northrop Grumman Corp using a Standard Missile-2 Block IIIA guided missile.