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US successfully tests ICBM interceptor missile

US successfully tests ICBM interceptor missile

Taking “Star Wars” to the next level!

America recently marked the 40th anniversary of the debut of the blockbuster movie, Star Wars.

In 1983, in homage to the movie’s popularity, Ronald Reagan’s “Strategic Defense Initiative” was rechristened “Star Wars“. While the original goal of the program was to build a network of ground-based and space-based systems to shield the country from a massive intercontinental ballistic missile attack, Reagan’s successors have scaled back on his original plans substantially.

Since President Donald Trump took office, North Korea has launched 9 separate test ballistic missiles, with the goal of developing one that could reach the United States with a nuclear payload.

In response, the Pentagon launched a successful test of its own…of an interceptor missile. While the test had been planned for years, the timing could not have been better.

…The ground-based interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California shortly after 3:30 p.m. ET. A little more than one hour later, the Pentagon confirmed that it had successfully collided with an ICBM-class target over the Pacific Ocean.

The ICBM-target was launched from the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, 4,200 miles away.

“The intercept of a complex, threat-representative ICBM target is an incredible accomplishment for the GMD [Ground-based Missile Defense] system and a critical milestone for this program,” said Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Adm. Jim Syring. “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. I am incredibly proud of the warfighters who executed this test and who operate this system every day.”

This is a good omen for a military that is hoping for additional support from a substantially friendlier White House than its experienced in the last 8 years. However, there are limitations with the system and its technology.

The $244 million test will not confirm that the U.S. is capable of defending itself against an intercontinental-range missile fired by North Korea. Pyongyang also is understood to be moving closer to the capability of putting a nuclear warhead on such a missile and could have developed decoys sophisticated enough to trick an interceptor into missing the real warhead.

Syring’s agency sounded a note of caution.

“Initial indications are that the test met its primary objective, but program officials will continue to evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test,” his statement said.

About half of the previous tests of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system have failed, attracting criticism from the Government Accountability Office and the Pentagon’s own weapons testing office, which says the system has “a limited capability” to defend the U.S. against an ICBM attack.

Faced with the prospect of an enemy state obtaining long-range weapons, the Pentagon rapidly deployed the interceptor system in 2004, long before development and testing were complete.

The intercept marked the first live-fire test against an ICBM-class target for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) missile, which is being developed by Boeing Co..

This was a good day for homeland defense and a bad day for Kim Jong-un,” said Thomas Karako, a senior fellow for the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank in Washington, D.C., referring to the North Korean dictator.

…The test was also the first for the new CE-II Block 1 kill vehicle, which uses newly-designed divert thrusters to correct previous problems with the guidance of the kill vehicle, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C. that opposes nuclear arms proliferation. Divert thrusters are the small motors that make course adjustments when the kill vehicle is homing on its target and can make the difference between a hit and a miss, it said.

The best social media reaction to the news:

I would like to think that President Reagan is toasting this achievement in heaven, though I suspect he might be a little surprised that our concerns are focused on North Korea.


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Jerry Pournelle deserves a lot of credit for this. Hats off to him.

Close The Fed | May 31, 2017 at 12:14 pm

It was called “Star Wars” by the left in derision of it.
They said it could never be done.
They incessantly mocked it.
They constantly fought it.

And now, the left beginning with Clinton set us up so that Norks could bomb us.

What is it with the left and their desire for our destruction?

    jlronning in reply to Close The Fed. | May 31, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    Yes, “Star Wars” was Ted Kennedy’s attempt to mock the strategic defense initiative – always working for the Soviets. We now know he also went to the USSR in 1984 to confer with the Soviets on how they could defeat Reagan’s reelection. Never forget!

Wrathchilde | May 31, 2017 at 12:33 pm

We started working on the “Star Wars” missile defense systems back in the ’80s when I was still in the Navy.

Nice to see some progress, even on a geological scale.

Of course, this does not mean we are 100% protected, but the proof of concept means we can now work on refinement, and mass production of the missiles, launchers, and radar.

Baby step, baby step, baby step, GIANT STEP!

Bitterlyclinging | May 31, 2017 at 1:25 pm

“If oceans and mountain ranges can be conquered, any fortification erected by man can be conquered.”
General George S Patton, US Army
The North Koreans are coming.
Thank you, Wendy Sherman, William Jefferson Clinton, Buraq Hussein Obama.

The Won one for the Gipper.

Reagan was right.

American Human | May 31, 2017 at 2:17 pm

This is great. Let’s hope that we’ll never need to use it.

Question: If Kim Jong Fat finally develops a missile to deliver a warhead all the way to the continental U.S., will he then use it? Is that all he’s waiting for? Does he seriously believe he can win a war with the U.S.?

Lofting a missile with a nuclear warhead to hit the U.S. is probably the most insanely stupid thing any leader could do.

What do the Left/Democrats/Liberals think we should do if he does and even if we intercept it before it hits?

Albigensian | May 31, 2017 at 4:28 pm

Will he use it?

Well, its purpose most likely is the same as most other nuclear missiles: it’s intended to be a deterrent.

A deterrent to what? To the USA invading North Korea (with or without allies) if the Korean War ever turns hot again (or perhaps just because we want to be rid of him and his vile regime). Because an American commander-in-chief will surely hesitate to do something if the consequence might be the destruction of a U.S. city.

And (unfortunately) no anti-missile system will ever be able to totally remove that threat, as no one could reasonably expect such as system to be 100% effective, for (even aside from technical limitations) no military defense has ever proved to be 100% effective. Probably because one’s enemies always busy themselves ways to neutralize or work around it and it’s impossible to anticipate all of these.

But would he use it? The logic of deterrence is that one tries to convince one’s potential enemies that the weapon will absolutely, definitely be used- and the best way to do that is to make its use as automatic and irrevocable as possible.

Yet if a time comes to use a deterrence weapon then the weapon has already failed, and quite likely no longer makes sense to use it.

Yet deterrence will never be totally automatic and irrevocable, for what if something goes wrong? And thus the perennial, yet ultimately unanswerable question: WILL the weapons be used?

Paul Compton | May 31, 2017 at 8:02 pm

Am I the only sick mind that thinks the photo of the missile launch looks like a giant two fingered salute to Kim Jong-un?

I hope that Trump has made it crystal clear to the Chinese that any act of aggression against the US or our allies on the part of the Norks will be considered an act of aggression by the Chinese. Any retaliation by the US will be directed at the Chinese. And it will be “swift and disproportionate” as Reagan used to say.