The Pentagon's successful testing of an intercontinental missile defense system the day after North Korea staged a successful missile test signals the U.S.is inclined to match dictator Kim Jong Un's provocative gestures, according to experts who also caution such shows of force will do little to ease tensions.
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.
The test, conducted over the Pacific Ocean, was the first live-fire test event against an ICBM-class target for GMD and the US ballistic missile defense system.
Johnson said that the U.S. has 36 missile interceptors ready to go, but if the incoming threats were real missiles, and not just tests, they'd fire a few interceptors at each target.
Ahead of the shoot-to-kill technology test, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters that North Korea and Iran were of particular concern, although the long-planned test was not timed as a response to North Korea's recent provocations.
A different U.S. missile defense system, Aegis Ashore, has been deployed in Eastern Europe. Find us on Facebook too!
A ground-based interceptor was launched at a California air base and shot down a mock ballistic missile, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said.
Syring, however, said that the test was based on intelligence projections of where the missile threat to the United States would be in 2020.
Tuesday's test was seen as a win by defense officials.
The $244 million us test over the Pacific Ocean yesterday comes after North Korea launched its ninth missile of the year Monday, a short-range weapon that landed in the Sea of Japan. Previously, the GMD system had successfully hit its target in only nine of 17 tests since 1999.
Syring said initial results from the test indicate that the interceptor and ICBM was "a direct hit, a complete obliteration", but added that his agency will analyze the data over the next 30 days.
While Tuesday's test wasn't designed with the expectation of an imminent North Korean missile threat, the military wants progress toward the stated goal of being able to shoot down a small number of ICBMs targeting the United States.
The U.S. "must know our declaration that we can turn the devils' den into ashes with nuclear weapons is not an empty threat", the Rodong Sinmun said in its report Tuesday.
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.
Sullivan has been a key advocate in the Senate for expanding homeland missile defense systems.
The test was believed to be an important milestone for the country's defense program, which could be what stands between an incoming North Korean strike and the USA, as tensions between the two countries are reportedly rising.