Published: Tue, June 06, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

US Holds First Successful Tests of Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Defense System

US Holds First Successful Tests of Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Defense System

"The intercept of a complex, threat-representative ICBM target is an incredible accomplishment for the GMD system and a critical milestone for this program", MDA Director Vice Adm. Jim Syring said after Tuesday's test.

The test, the first of its kind in almost three years, was created to prepare for any North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile strike and marked a key milestone in the US missile defense system's development. "And I'm even more confident today after seeing the intercept test yesterday that we continue to be on that course", Syring said during a media briefing at the Pentagon on Wednesday.

This first live-fire test against a simulated ICBM for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD), managed by Boeing Co.

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. The military says that missile struck the target outside the Earth's atmosphere in what the Pentagon called "a direct collision" - and destroyed it.

On Monday, a North Korea test missile reportedly flew about 280 miles before landing in the Sea of Japan - the 12th missile believed to have been launched this year by the Pyongyang government. Built by Boeing, the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) was recently featured in an article by Forbes as the only system that can successfully protect the USA from an ICBM.

"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. These include the Patriot missile, which numerous countries have purchased from the USA, and the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, which the US deployed this year to South Korea to defend against medium-range missiles from North Korea.

The Pentagon successfully shot down a simulated intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday using its own interceptor missile. "The Missile Defense Agency has been on a long road to improve the reliability and capability of the GBI fleet".

The test, designated Flight Test Ground-Based Interceptor-15, will provide the data necessary to assess the performance of the GMD system and provide enhanced homeland defense capabilities. "This test demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat". "The United States must know our declaration that we can turn the devils' den into ashes with nuclear weapons is not an empty threat", the paper said, according to a Channel News Asia report.

Syring said the test is estimated to have cost $244 million.

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