Tuesday, May 30, 2017
The Pentagon successfully simulated the shootdown of a hostile long-range ballistic missile launch, in the first-ever live-fire test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system widely seen as a warning to hostile regimes such as North Korea and Iran.
The GMD test, in which a interceptor missile fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California took out a ballistic missile target fired from the Regan Test Site in the Marshall Islands, took place less than 24 hours after Pyongyang executed its own missile test shot.
The Soviet-era Scud-class missile travelled nearly 300 miles before crashing into the Sea of Japan on Sunday, according to recent reports. It was the third test in as many weeks by North Korean officials, whose end goal is to develop a intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting Japan and possibly the west coast of the U.S.
Tuesday’s test shot was “an incredible accomplishment for the GMD system and a critical milestone for this program,” Navy Vice Adm. Jim Syring, head of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
Before Tuesday’s interceptor test shot, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis insisted that the long-planned missile drill was not a direct response North Korea’s recent provocative tests. But ensuring the system tasked with defending U.S. soil against a long-range missile strike could do the job, was influenced by increasing parity in the nuclear arsenals of the U.S. and its adversaries.
By Carlo Muñoz – Updated: 7:38 p.m. on