US government planning to test THAAD missile system to protect country against North Korean attack

KODIAK, Alaska (AP) -- The U.S. Coast Guard says a launch from a rocket complex in Alaska will occur as soon as next week to make sure the U.S. can defend itself from a North Korean attack using the THAAD missile system.
 
The launch from Kodiak Island is scheduled to occur at the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska between 7 p.m. on July 29 and 1:30 a.m. on July 30, according to a U.S. Coast Guard notice released Wednesday. Alternative times for the launch are listed as between 7 p.m. on July 30 and 1:30 a.m. on July 31, or between 7 p.m. on July 31 and 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 1.
 
Mariners are advised to remain clear of swaths of ocean between Kodiak Island and Hawaii during those time periods.
 
U.S. Army soldiers are stationed temporarily at the launch complex for U.S. Missile Defense Agency testing of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported  .
 
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency successfully completed a Flight Test THAAD-18 operation from Kodiak earlier this month. That test "validated THAAD's ability to intercept intermediate range ballistic missiles," said Chris Johnson, U.S. Missile Defense Agency director of public affairs.
 
The FTT-18 test, which occurred during the night between July 10 and 11, included the launch of "two interceptors from two co-located launchers," Johnson wrote in an email to the Kodiak Daily Mirror. "The first missile engaged the target. The second interceptor was launched to test operational procedures."
 
A second test from the site, called the FTT-15, will test the system's ability to intercept a medium-range ballistic missile within the earth's atmosphere, said Leah Garton of U.S. Missile Defense Agency public affairs.
 
THAAD, which currently has a 100 percent success rate in 14 tests, uses a direct hit to intercept a target in its final phase of flight. THAAD systems have been placed in Guam and South Korea to counter missile threats from North Korea.
 

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