The Terminal Excessive Altitude Space Protection (THAAD) missile protection system efficiently shot down a goal over Alaska, in line with a information launch.
“I could not be extra happy with the federal government and contractor workforce who executed this flight take a look at at present,” stated MDA Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves within the assertion. “This take a look at additional demonstrates the capabilities of the THAAD weapon system and its means to intercept and destroy ballistic missile threats.”
An official with the US Division of Protection informed CNN the take a look at shouldn’t be associated to North Korea’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch.
Every THAAD system is comprised of 5 main elements: interceptors, launchers, a radar, a fireplace management unit and help gear, in line with Lockheed Martin, the safety and aerospace firm that serves because the prime contractor.
The radar first detects an incoming missile. These manning the system determine the risk, then a launcher mounted to a truck fires a projectile, which Lockheed Martin calls an “interceptor,” on the ballistic missile within the hopes of destroying it utilizing kinetic power — mainly simply its sheer velocity.
Some analysts liken it to taking pictures down a bullet with one other bullet.
Tensions on the peninsula
Within the wake of the ICBM take a look at, the US navy and intelligence communities started to take a second have a look at the newest intelligence about North Korea’s nuclear warhead program, in line with two US protection officers.
North Korea has beforehand claimed it has efficiently miniaturized a nuclear warhead that would go on the entrance finish of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Although analysts say it is fairly tough to confirm that declare, US commanders have determined, for the needs of planning navy choices, they must assume Pyongyang has that functionality.
The escalation of Pyongyang’s nuclear program additionally has prompted a better have a look at the effectiveness of missile protection methods maintained by the US and its allies.
The US navy had already begun deploying the THAAD system in South Korea earlier this 12 months, a lot to the chagrin of a few of Seoul’s neighbors.
Its presence is vociferously opposed by China, Russia and North Korea, which all say THAAD is fueling an arms race. Analysts observe that Beijing’s largest concern is probably going that THAAD’s highly effective radar might be used to snoop inside China and negate its personal deterrent capabilities.
However the system has detractors in South Korea, as effectively. THAAD’s deployment was accepted by disgraced ex-President Park Geun-hye, who’s at the moment on trial in a corruption scandal. Her extra dovish successor, Moon Jae-in, campaigned on a promise to place the difficulty to the nation’s Parliament.
Final month, a US and Japanese missile take a look at carried out in Hawaii missed its goal, however each stopped in need of calling it a failure.
In Might, the Pentagon efficiently shot down an intercontinental ballistic missile utilizing its personal upgraded long-range interceptor missile.
That take a look at concerned firing a brand new model of the navy’s single long-range, ground-based interceptor missile, which is at the moment primarily based in Alaska and California. That program has been in existence for greater than a decade, however solely about half of the assessments have been profitable, in line with the Protection Division.
Whereas the Pentagon referred to as the take a look at successful, some specialists cautioned that the $40 billion missile protection system nonetheless has an extended technique to go earlier than it may be thought of totally developed.