Pentagon successfully tests ICBM defense system for first time

The ICBM-mocked up to resemble a missile capable of carrying a nuclear payload similar to the ones that North Korea is feverishly pursuing-was launched over the Pacific Ocean some 4,000 miles away from the intercepting missile's launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Then, infrared views show the interceptor detonating after colliding with the mock weapon. 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.Efforts to test the country's multibillion-dollar efforts at missile defense have had mixed results.The US has never shown it can successfully intercept a ICBM over the Pacific before.

The Ground-Based Interceptor missile that hit the target Tuesday constitutes the second of three stages of the USA missile defense system for the US mainland.

"The intercept of a complex, threat-representative ICBM target is an incredible accomplishment. and a critical milestone for this program", Syring said in a statement shortly after the test. "In addition, the GMD program remains on track to evolve and modernize this crucial national defense asset in the face of an evolving threat environment, with system upgrades and future technology including the Boeing-led Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV)".

Syring said Tuesday's test was made even more complicated by the use of decoys created to throw off the interceptor.

The next test will take place in August/September 2018 and will involve multiple interceptors attempting to take out a single test ICBM.

The Associated Press said the Pentagon calls the tactic "hitting a bullet with a bullet".

The report went on to say the Defense Department continues to discover new failure modes during testing. The test was long-planned.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency announced it conducted a successful test of a system created to shoot down intercontinental ballistic missiles.

A type of ICBM was sacked from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands toward the waters south of Alaska.

The Trump administration has been pressing Beijing aggressively to rein in its ally North Korea, warning that all options are on the table if Pyongyang persists with its nuclear and missile development. It is widely acknowledged that in a real world attack, several interceptors would be launched to maximize the chance of quickly destroying the incoming threat.

U.S. national intelligence director Dan Coats warned Congress last week that "North Korea is an increasingly grave national security threat to the United States because of its growing missile and nuclear capabilities combined with the aggressive approach of its leader Kim Jong Un".

This launch of a suspected Scud-type missile, which the South Korean military said flew about 450 kilometers (280 miles), may also be an attempt to demonstrate North Korea's ability to strike USA and South Korean troops in the region.

The continental United States is around 9,000 km (5,500 miles) from North Korea.

He added that the situation on the Korean Peninsula had the potential to mirror the Cuban Missile Crisis unless Pyongyang is curbed, calling on China to do more. That system - THAAD - is created to take down smaller missiles with a much shorter range that would not threaten the United States mainland.

  • Leroy Wright