First THAAD launches after yesterday’s wind delay

The military launched a land-based anti-ballistic missile from the Pacific Missile Range last night in the first test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System to be conducted on Kaua‘i, according to statement released by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

The missile appeared to have collided with its target, a dummy ballistic missile launched from a ship in the Pacific Ocean, according to the agency.

An interception would have occurred just inside the earth’s atmosphere.

The test occurred at 7:20 p.m., following a Thursday cancellation due to heavy winds, said Tom Clements, PMRF spokesman.

The event brought a surge of 550 people to the base, he said, the first such influx since October, when the military moved THAAD equipment to Kaua‘i from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

A photograph released by the PMRF shows the missile launching on a straight trajectory instead of the telltale corkscrew motion that characterized launches in the space limitations of White Sands.

“It was quite spectacular,” Clements said.

Soldiers of the 6th Air Defense Artillery Brigade carried out the test, which the military said appears to be the second successful intercept in the past three tests of the THAAD system.

The last test at White Sands ended unsuccessfully because of a problem with the target after its launch, according to the MDA.

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