The Defense Department on Tuesday was able to successfully destroy a mock intercontinental ballistic missile over the Pacific with a new hit-to-kill vehicle meant to protect the United States from the growing threat from North Korea.
The launch of a Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) interceptor missile interceptor missile launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California against an ICBM-class target fired from the Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands resulted in a “direct collision,” the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency said in a statement released today.
“The intercept of a complex, threat-representative ICBM target is an incredible accomplishment for the GMD system and a critical milestone for this program,” Vice Admiral Jim Syring, the agency’s director, said. “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.”
While this mission was a success; previous ones have not been as lucky. In the last 17 test launches, 8 failed.
The hit-to-kill missile, developed by Boeing Co. for the Missile Defense Agency, was designed to strike and destroy an incoming long-range missile by kinetic force, often compared to hitting a bullet with a bullet.
North Korea continues to escalate tensions with the United States, saying they plan to deploy a nuclear war on the US mainland soon. North Korean leader King Jong Unsupervised the test of a new ballistic missile controlled by a precision guidance system and ordered the development of more powerful strategic weapons, the North’s official KCNA news agency reported on Tuesday. “He expressed the conviction that it would make a greater leap forward in this spirit to send a bigger ‘gift package’ to the Yankees” in retaliation for American military provocation, KCNA quoted Kim as saying.
Missile tests in recent weeks by North Korea have shown a level of advancement and sophistication that has some concerned North Korea is perfecting the technology needed to launch nuclear missiles to the United States mainland. After the recent North Korean missile test, South Korea’s defense minister said that North Korea’s ballistic missile program is progressing much faster than expected.