Secretary of Defense William Cohen announced on January 20 that THAAD, which has had nine flight tests thus far, and the sea-based TMD system Navy Theater Wide will be reviewed together next year to determine which should be the lead upper-tier TMD system. The Pentagon hopes to field such a system by 2007.
Two weeks earlier, on March 15, the Army's Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) system successfully intercepted a HERA missile target at White Sands, even though this was not the primary objective of its third flight test. The intercept illustrated the feasibility of "hit-to-kill" technology at much shorter ranges and lower speeds. Sixteen intercept tests are planned for PAC-3, one of the core "lower-tier" TMD systems, before its deployment in 2001.