US successfully tests ICBM defence system
- Author: Leroy Wright May 31, 2017,
May 31, 2017, 20:38
This test was the first time a ground-based midcourse interceptor has destroyed an intercontinental ballistic missile target. The defence agency said that the ground-based interceptor missile which was sacked from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Southern California smashed into a target launched from the Marshall Islands, and destroyed it.
A type of ICBM was sacked from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands toward the waters south of Alaska.
"The intercept of a complex, threat-representative ICBM target is an incredible accomplishment for the GMD system and a critical milestone for this program", U.S. Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Adm. Jim Syring said in a statement. ICBMs have a minimum range of about 5,500km, but some are created to travel 10,000km or farther.
And before the test was carried out Navy Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said: 'This is part of a continuous learning curve'. The results will be used to determine the overall success of the GMD system and the United States missile defenses in general.
The Pentagon's oft-criticised missile defence program has scored a triumph, destroying a mock warhead over the Pacific Ocean with an interceptor that is key to protecting U.S. territory from a North Korean attack. The test was long-planned.
A 2016 assessment released by the Pentagon's weapons testing office in January said that U.S. ground-based interceptors, created to knock out any incoming ICBM, still had low reliability. According to the agency, this test was the 18th one for the interceptor.
This image made from video of an undated still image broadcasted in a news bulletin on Tuesday, May 30, 2017, by North Korea's KRT shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and a missile launcher in North Korea.
Pentagon officials said the test was to simulate the capability for responding to a hypothetical North Korean ICBM. North Korea is threatening a sixth nuclear test. On May 21, it launched a Pukguksong-2, which can hit any target in Japan, and on Monday it fired a new missile capable of both surface-to-surface and surface-to-ship attacks.
Laura Grego, senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, which has criticized the missile defense program, called the interceptor an "advanced prototype", meaning it is not fully matured technologically even if it has been deployed and theoretically available for combat since 2004.
As USAF General John Hyten, Commander of United States Strategic Command, said on May 9 at a Strategic Deterrent Coalition nuclear symposium, that the North Koreans now have the range capability to strike the United States with a ballistic missile.