Pentagon: Missile defense test was a success

In its 2018 budget presented to Congress last week, the Pentagon proposed spending $7.9 billion on missile defense, including $1.5 billion for the ground-based mid-course defense program.

Several experts say the missile tested Monday was also fired two or three times in a string of four unsuccessful tests during March and April, Bennett told CNN. The test came as fears mount about North Korea's advancing program to develop an ICBM capability.

In Tuesday's USA test, the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency launched an interceptor rocket from an underground silo at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The drill in eastern Santa Barbara County base is created to prepare for any North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile strike.

The test marks the first time the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system has gone up against an ICBM-class target although some previous tests have featured intermediate-range ballistic missile targets that have approached ICBM speeds. The GMD system received the target tracking data and developed a fire control solution to intercept the incoming missile.

The North's test launch of a short-range ballistic missile landed in the sea off its east coast and was the latest in a fast-paced series of missile tests defying worldwide pressure and threats of more sanctions.

Such launches, and two nuclear tests since January 2016, have been conducted in defiance of USA pressure, United Nations resolutions and the threat of more sanctions. "They continue to conduct test launches, as we saw even this weekend, while also using unsafe rhetoric that suggests that they would strike the United States homeland". "We look forward to understanding the results so we can continue to mature the system and stay ahead of the threat". A test failure Tuesday would raise new questions about the defensive system but would be unlikely to compel the Pentagon to abandon plans to expand it.

In a statement, Davis said the test was not timed due to recent actions by North Korea, but that the country is one of the reasons the testing the system's capability. Liquid fuel is less stable and rockets using it have to be fueled in the field, a process that takes longer and can be detected by satellites.

Graphic shows details of U.S. missile launch targeting an ICBM
Graphic shows details of U.S. missile launch targeting an ICBM

Mr Trump, who has sought more help from China to rein in its neighbour and ally, said on Twitter that "North Korea has shown great disrespect for their neighbor, China, by shooting off yet another ballistic missile.but China is trying hard!"

That test involves firing a new version of the military's single long-range ground-based interceptor missile, which is now based in Alaska and California. The Minuteman III missile launch lit up the night sky and soared about 4,200 miles to a test range near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. It carries an exoatmospheric kill vehicle (EKV) made by Raytheon.

The test was aimed at verifying a new type of precision guidance system and the reliability of a new mobile launch vehicle under different operational conditions, KCNA said. With congressional support, the Pentagon is increasing by the end of this year the number of deployed interceptors, based in California and Alaska, to 44 from the current total of 36.

Tuesday's test is in response to a growing threat from North Korea, which recently launched its third missile test in three weeks.

Bruce Bennett, senior worldwide defense researcher at the Rand Corp, a California-based global policy think tank, expressed doubts about North Korea's claims of success.

"Their ballistic missile capability will continue to threaten USA strategic interests in the Middle East", he said.

Countering short- to medium-range ballistic missiles is a much more sorted out affair than doing the same for ICBMs.

  • Leroy Wright