Pentagon missile defense program scores direct hit

From Harris Grade Road north of Lompoc, Calif., spectators watch an interceptor missile launch from an underground silo at Vandenberg Air Force Base, and fly toward an intercontinental-range missile fired from a test range on Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific.

A 2016 assessment released by the Pentagon's weapons testing office in January said that U.S. ground-based interceptors meant to knock out any incoming ICBM still had low reliability, giving the system a limited capability of shielding the United States.

The intercept test, which comes at a time when the U.S.is keeping a wary eye on North Korea's missile program, was successful. "I was confident before the test that we had the capability to defeat any threat that they would throw at us".

Jim Syring is the vice admiral who directs the Pentagon agency in charge of developing the missile defense system.

A ground based interceptor missle take off at Vandenberg Air Force base, California, on Tuesday.

The programme comprises command-and-control facilities, communications terminals and a 20,000-mile fiber-optic communications network that interfaces with ballistic missile defence radars and other sensors.

Officially known as the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, the Pentagon likens the defensive tactic to hitting a bullet with a bullet.

"We are replicating our ability to defend the United States of America from North Korea, today", Ellison said.

On Sunday's "Face the Nation", Defense Secretary James Mattis made clear that the U.S.is taking the North Korean threat seriously. A successful test Tuesday, she said, could demonstrate the Pentagon is on the right track with its latest technical fixes.

"This is part of a continuous learning curve", Davis said.

"This is one element of a broader missile defense strategy that we can use to employ against potential threats", Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told reporters.

In the editorial cited by state news agency KCNA, which also included Pyongyang's analysis of the USA test, the North said no foreign forces could stop its progress in becoming a nuclear and missile power in the East.

He said the ground-based interceptor is "ready to defend the homeland" after completing a "very realistic test" that included the use of decoys, similar to what North Korea could use, though he declined to provide specifics.

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

US President Donald Trump tweeted: "North Korea has shown great disrespect for their neighbor, China, by shooting off yet another ballistic missile.but China is trying hard!"

The Pentagon's oft-criticized missile defense program has scored a triumph.

The Pentagon has other elements of missile defense that have shown to be more reliable, although they are created to work against medium-range or shorter-range ballistic missiles.

Despite UN and unilateral sanctions, North Korea has continued with its missile tests.

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