Successful ICBM interceptor test shows United States can outpace missile threats through 2020

US successfully tests ICBM intercepts

A ground-based interceptor launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California collided with and destroyed an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)-class projectile that had been launched from at atoll in the Marshall Islands, more than 4,500 miles away, the MDA reported.

A 2016 assessment released by the Pentagon's weapons testing office in January said that us ground-based interceptors meant to knock out any incoming ICBM still had low reliability, giving the system a limited capability of shielding the United States. Skeptics of Reagan's 1980s missile defense program, derided by critics as Star Wars, said the plan was like trying to shoot bullet with another bullet.

After the United States military successfully tested a new type of anti-missile rocket Tuesday, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un remained defiant, issuing another in his series of grave warnings to the USA of his intentions to use nuclear weapons. Critics are also questioning whether the test is capable of providing defense against an actual North Korean ICBM.

The Ground-based Midcourse Defense(GMD) is created to intercept and destroy missiles during the midcourse of their trajectory through space.

This test was the first time a ground-based midcourse interceptor has destroyed an intercontinental ballistic missile target. "It appears the trying to stay well ahead of the curve, rather than give North Korea the chance to level the playing field".The Pentagon has other elements of missile defense that have shown to be more reliable, although they are created to work against medium-range or shorter-range ballistic missiles. The Pentagon is still incorporating engineering upgrades to a missile interceptor that has yet to be fully tested in realistic conditions.

Philip E. Coyle, a former head of the Pentagon's test and evaluation office and a senior fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, said the outcome was a significant success for a test that was three years in preparation.

"We improve and learn from each test, regardless of the outcome", he said. Attention was drawn to the growing concern of the U.S. concerning development of missile programs in North Korea and Iran that threaten not only the region, but also national security of the United States.

Pentagon spokesman, Captain Jeff Davis, addressed North Korea in his remarks to the media saying, "Obviously, North Korea is one of the reasons why we have this capability, but North Korea is not the only reason..."

"This successful test keeps the United States on track for a significant increase in interceptor inventory of 44 in 2017", said Norm Tew, vice president and GMD program director.

"We want to exercise the GMD system with more than one interceptor to gather data for what a first interceptor would do in terms of kill and what the second interceptor would see", he said.

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