[Ed. – No need to either oversell or undersell this event. It’s a great showing for a tough ballistic missile intercept problem, improving by one an approximate 50-50 record for this type of intercept — mid-course for an ICBM. This result doesn’t mean our ground-based interceptor system is ready to defend against every threat we face. Russia and China both have ICBMs that would be likely to defeat our GBI system. But the capability just demonstrated should be pretty effective against the North Korean threat. Keep in mind, missile defense opponents have kept our program slow-rolled and on a shoestring for years, whereas Russia and China have been developing new-generation ICBMs as rapidly as possible. Opponents of defending America have created a self-fulfilling prophecy by starving the BMD program. But success rates have still been improving for 15 years. This defense capability could advance much faster.]
The U.S. military successfully shot down a mock nuclear warhead simulating the speed and range of a potential North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile, the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency said Tuesday.
In a statement, the agency said an unarmed rocket launched from the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean was “destroyed” by a ground-based interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Southern California as it traveled outside Earth’s atmosphere.
The successful test was the first of its kind in nearly three years. It came two days after North Korea tested a SCUD-type ballistic missile that landed in Japan’s maritime economic zone in the Sea of Japan.
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This system is vitally important to the defense of our homeland, and this test demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat,” said MDA Director Vice Admiral Jim Syring. “I am incredibly proud of the warfighters who executed this test and who operate this system every day.”