Star Wars Junior: Will It Fly?

Although kinks remain, a new antimissile system is workable

At 5 a.m. on Dec. 13, a white, pencil-thin missile lifted off flawlessly from a mobile launcher into the starry skies above White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The Theater High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) payload separated from its booster stage, shed the shrouds protecting its supersensitive infrared sensor, and locked on target--a dummy ballistic missile. Then...bust. A software glitch sent the THAAD in the wrong direction. The 20-foot-long missile corrected course, but too late. Before it could intercept and kill the target, the THAAD ran out of fuel.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.