A U.S. Coast Guard notice indicated another Alaska-based Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense test is set to occur this weekend.
The Coast Guard’s most recent weekly notice to mariners said the Alaska Aerospace Corporation, a state-owned company, will conduct a rocket launch from the Kodiak Narrow Cape Launch facility on Kodiak Island, Alaska, the evening of July 29 with alternate times the evenings of July 30 and 31.
The corporation operates the Kodiak Launch Complex, which supports various types of missile launches. It was last used by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), which successfully pit THAAD against an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) for the first time earlier this month (Defense Daily, July 12). That test was called Flight Test THAAD-18 (FTT-18).
According to an MDA fact sheet, medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs) have a range of about 621- 1,864 miles while IRBMs have a range of about 1,864-2,796 miles.
The MDA clarified this is not FTT-15, an upcoming test that aims to demonstrate THAAD’s ability to intercept a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) within the atmosphere.
According to MDA Director Lt. Gen Sam Greaves, the agency “plans to conduct an experimental THAAD test, called FET-01, at the Pacific Spaceport Complex, Alaska.”
However, the Defense Department will not provide advance test details beyond the required safety notifications, “due to the need to safeguard critical defense information, Greaves said in an email statement to Defense Daily.
The Coast Guard notice said the upcoming launch is scheduled to take place 7 p.m.-1:30 a.m Alaska time on the evening of July 29. Alternative launch times are the same hours on the evenings of July 30 or 31.
The notice listed four caution areas as polygons drawn through coordinates. They include three areas in the north Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Alaska as well as a somewhat larger area beginning by the Kodiak facility.
“All vessels are advised to remain clear of these areas for the duration of operations,” the Coast Guard said.
It noted all questions should be directed to the Reagan Test Site Range Safety Office. The Reagan Test Range, at Kwajelein Atoll, in Marshall Islands, is where many missile defense targets are launched from.