MDA Tests THAAD And Patriot Interoperability

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and Army jointly successfully tested a missile defense tracking exercise last week to demonstrate the interoperability between the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and Patriot missile defense systems.

The April 6 test at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., was a simulated engagement of a live short-range Lynx missile target, called Flight Test Other (FTX)-35. The Lynx was launched from the missile range and was subsequently detected and tracked by THAAD’s Army-Navy/Transportable Surveillance Radar Model 2 (AN/TPY-2) and the Patriot system.

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery fires an interceptor missile. Photo: Lockheed Martin.

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery fires an interceptor missile. Photo: Lockheed Martin.

The THAAD and Patriot systems “exchanged messages through tactical data links and verified interoperability between the weapon systems,” MDA said in a statement. No interceptors were launched.

The agency said this test supported the material release of the THAAD 3.0 software upgrades in addition to the interoperability demonstration. It was a developmental and operational test overseen by the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) Operational Test Agency.

“I am proud of today’s success in testing the interoperability of the THAAD and PATRIOT systems,” MDA Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves said in a statement.

“These two weapon systems are vitally important as components of our layered ballistic missile defense system and it is critical that they are able to transmit data and communicate with one another,” he added.

This exercise was part of an annual test requirement in the FY ’16 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the MDA and Army to annually test interoperability and integration of THAAD and Patriot weapon systems.

MDA noted soldiers operating the equipment, from the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade based out of Fort Hood, Texas, were not aware of the target’s specific launch time.

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