FTT-18

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense interceptor is launched from the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak during Flight Test THAAD-18 early Tuesday morning. During the test, the THAAD weapon system successfully intercepted an air-launched intermediate-range ballistic missile target.

A launch from the Kodiak Island rocket launch complex will occur as soon as next week, according to a U.S. Coast Guard notice released on Wednesday to mariners.

According to the notice, the launch 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. 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.

Public access at Narrow Cape may be limited periodically in the two to three days surrounding a test.

U.S. Army soldiers from Fort Bliss, Texas, are stationed temporarily at the launch complex, located approximately 44 miles from the city of Kodiak at Narrow Cape, for U.S. Missile Defense Agency testing of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system.

The MDA 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,” according to Chris Johnson, MDA 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, according to Leah Garton of MDA 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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