The U.S. military ran a successful test of Lockheed Martinâ€™s (NYSE:LMT) THAAD missile defense system on Tuesday.
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) is an anti-ballistic missile system designed to intercept both short- and intermediate-range missiles with a range of up to 1,860 miles. The Pentagon had planned on conducting a test launch since June, but Mondayâ€™s test came just a week after North Korea successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said a THAAD battery located in Kodiak, Alaska, intercepted a ballistic missile target launched from an Air Force cargo plane north of Hawaii. Soldiers from the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade of Fort Bliss, Texas, werenâ€™t told of the launch time in advance.
â€œI couldn't be more proud of the government and contractor team who executed this flight test today,â€ Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves said in a statement.
Lockheed Martin is the primary defense contractor for the THAAD program. Boeing (NYSE:BA), Raytheon (NYSE:RTN) and Honeywell (NYSE:HON) are among the supporting contractors. A single THAAD battery reportedly costs $800 million.
The THAAD system has a 100% success rate since 2005, according to Lockheed Martinâ€™s website. The MDA said it has now conducted 14 successful intercepts in 14 attempts.
â€œThe THAAD element provides a globally-transportable, rapidly-deployable capability to intercept ballistic missiles inside or outside the atmosphere during their final, or terminal, phase of flight,â€ the MDA said.
The U.S. had begun installing a THAAD battery in South Korea earlier this year, but the South Korean government suspended its deployment amid protests in the country.
In May, the U.S. shot down an ICBM using a ground-based intercept system, the first such test in history.