America successfully tests ICBM defense system in the Pacific

by Abel Hampton May 31, 2017, 6:29

The success of Tuesday's test marks a key step for the U.S. military's effort to establish an effective - though limited - ground-based defence against ICBMs.

In a launch visible in Southern California, the Air Force shot down an incoming missile with a ground-based interceptor Tuesday in a drill created to prepare for a North Korean nuclear strike.

The test involved the Pentagon Missile Defense Agency launching an ICBM from a base in the Republic of the Marshall Islands and firing a ground-based rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California 4,200 miles away to intercept it.

U.S. Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Adm. Jim Syring called the test a "critical milestone" in a statement.

"This test clearly demonstrates to our adversaries that our homeland missile defense system remains on track to defend our country", Sen.

The test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) aspect of the USA missile defense system comes amid North Korea's constant missile testing and threatening rhetoric.

The test launch, the first of its kind in almost three years, was seen from miles away, but the missile intercept was not visible, according to the air base.

The ground-based interceptor being tested Tuesday is different from the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system deployed in South Korea, which is created to intercept missiles at a lower altitude in their terminal stage.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's top security adviser has urged China to play a bigger role in restraining North Korea's nuclear and missile development programmes, Japan's foreign ministry said in a statement.

North Korea launched a ballistic missile on Monday and claimed it flew 248 miles.

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The Missile Defense Agency launched a ground-based interceptor from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to intercept a US-launched mock ICBM target over the Pacific Ocean, according to a United States defense official. That nation is believed to be working toward an intercontinental ballistic missile that could transport a nuclear warhead.

The United States have readied their defences for an inter-continental missile.

Davis played down the need for a successful test ahead of time. The system was nine for 17 since 1999 with other types of shorter-range target missiles. But Tuesday's test features a new kill vehicle and upgraded interceptor boosters.

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.

A test failure would raise new questions about the defensive system.

One avenue that the Pentagon feels has been underexplored is the use of cyberattacks to stop missile launches before they occur.

The missile defense program has yet to prove successful against missiles that can deploy decoys.


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