After test, U.S. says missile defenses are outpacing ICBM threat

The Missile Defense Agency conducted an initial live-fire test Tuesday of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense platform component of the ballistic missile defense system.

A ground-based interceptor was then launched from a silo on VAFB, and its exo-atmospheric kill vehicle intercepted and destroyed the target in a direct collision, the US reports.

The U.S. defense system has roots in President Ronald Reagan's efforts to develop a response to ballistic missile threats during the Cold War, when tensions were high between the U.S. and Soviet Union.

He said the ground-based interceptor is "ready to defend the homeland" after completing a "very realistic test" that included the use of decoys, similar to what North Korea could use, though he declined to provide specifics. Yesterday's exercise again proves its capability in detecting and destroying these advanced ballistic missiles.

It was the third missile test by the nuclear-armed regime in less than three weeks, defying United Nations (UN) sanctions warnings and USA threats of possible military action.

Prior to Tuesday's launch, the GMD system had successfully hit its target in only nine of 17 tests since 1999. "In several ways, this test was a $244 million baby step, a baby step that took three years". The successful US test followed a series of missile tests led by Kim Jong Un from Pyongyang in recent months, which has forced the Trump administration to step up its efforts to reduce the threat.

"We improve and learn from each test, regardless of the outcome", he said.

The most recent North Korean test involved a short-range ballistic missile that traveled about 250 miles before splashing down in Japan's "exclusive economic zone" near the coast.

The GMD element of the ballistic missile defense system provides combatant commanders the capability to engage and destroy intermediate and long-range ballistic missile threats to protect the USA, according to the MDA.

According to the plan, a 5-foot-long "kill vehicle" released from atop the interceptor zeroed in on the ICBM-like target's mock warhead outside Earth's atmosphere and obliterated it by sheer force of impact, the Pentagon said.

The successful test was an important step in reaffirming our nation's missile defense program's ability to protect the American homeland from long-range ballistic missile threats.

The US military fired an ICBM-type missile from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

The US system has been in development for over 15 years but Tuesday was the first attempt to target an intercontinental ballistic missile. They function together to detect a hostile missile launch and track the missile in air.

  • Leroy Wright