The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency next week plans to conduct a first-ever test in which it will reportedly attempt to shoot down an intercontinental-range ballistic missile.
Designed to simulate a North Korean ICBM, the missile will be launched from the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site in the Marshall Islands, a Pacific archipelago about halfway between North Korea and Hawaii.
According to ABC News, success will be contingent on an interceptor colliding with the ICBM over the Pacific Ocean. This interceptor has reportedly been used in 17 previous tests involving other sorts of target missiles, none of which were an ICBM.
The goal of these tests has been to strengthen America’s capability to protect the homeland from future potential attacks by rogue regimes such as North Korea and Iran — and also demonstrate America’s capacity to thwart attacks from its established international rivals, including Russia and China.
“These test launches verify the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a continued safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent,” the Air Force Global Strike Command said in a statement.
North Korea is of special concern because of megalomaniacal dictator Kim Jong Un’s frightening pursuit of technology that would permit him to fire a nuclear-equipped ICBM capable of reaching the continental United States.
“While U.S. officials believe Pyongyang is some years away from mastering re-entry expertise for perfecting an ICBM, it is making advances,” noted Reuters.
This year alone, the Hermit Kingdom has already reportedly conducted eight missile tests, though none of them involved an ICBM.
The only problem, as noted by The Associated Press, is that the Pentagon’s interceptor has a “spotty track record, succeeding in (only) nine of 17 attempts against missiles of less-than-intercontinental range since 1999.”
The chances of Tuesday’s test being successful therefore seem fairly low, though it ought to nevertheless serve as a loud and clear message to Kim — and the rest of the world — that we too are making advances with our own technological pursuits.
The point is, that if push comes to shove, we’ll be more than ready for him — or anyone else.
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