U.S. missile shield not yet ready for North Korean nukes
Tens of thousands of dollars spent more than three decades, however, left the Pentagon there is a reliable way to knock down missiles with nuclear warheads approaching the United States – a vulnerability that has taken on a new urgency after the new test Of the first North Korean Independence Day.
In contrast, the missile defense system designed to protect the United States from an intercontinental ballistic missile – a diversified network of sensors, radars, and interceptor missiles based in Alaska and California – have failed three of its five tests, The military leaders. Even two victories were strongly scripted.
“If North Korea fired everything they had at us and we fired all the missiles, we would probably get most of them,” said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia nonproliferation program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. “But” probably “make the most of” a good day or a bad day? ”
The official position of the Pentagon Wednesday was the ground-based Midcourse defense system, designed by Boeing and many other defense contractors could eliminate a missile that crossed the atmosphere. But this opinion is a minority.
More current and former military officials and other experts believe that the chances of protecting the US territory against an ICBM surprise attack or very short-term would be slim at best. Last month, the outgoing Navy Admiral in charge of all Pentagon anti-missile defense programs told Congress that he had “reliability issues” with the system.
According to the Pentagon, Congress has provided at least 189.7 billion for missile defenses of all kinds since 1985, the height of the Ronald Reagan Strategic Defense Initiative, which was to provide a space of defense against a Soviet nuclear attack.
Some of these investments have paid, for example, the Patriot missiles currently widely used by the US. And its allies, as well as other terrestrial and marine systems designed to divert missiles farther away in battle. But incoming ballistic missile defenses, falling through space at tremendous speed, proved to be much harder to reach – and they do not stop trying.
It is estimated that the Midcourse defense system on the ground alone costs at least $ 40 billion, according to a 2013 estimate by the Government Accountability Office.
“In part, we are not able to, because it is the most difficult that the Pentagon has tried to do,” said Phil Coyle, who was the primary weapons controller of the Pentagon in the Clinton administration and the Office of Science and Technology Policy White house in the Obama administration.
“We have had more success with short- and medium-range systems, but they are slower, moving in the atmosphere.” This is different from traveling 15,000 miles per hour in space, especially when the enemy tries to deceive, “for example , With counter-measures and decoys.
“Three of the four previous [failed] tests – is a failure rate of 75%,” Coyle said the recent test system. Despite its most recent success, “two of the five are 40 percent. Forty percent is not a passing grade.”
The system includes 36 intercontinental ballistic missile interceptors – 32 at Fort Greely in Alaska and four in California at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency should expand this number to 44 by the end of the year.
The last test of the system was carried out on May 30, when a missile interceptor was fired from California to a target missile launched from the Reagan test site at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific.
The Pentagon praised the test as a milestone, saying that this led to a “direct collision.” Then Deputy Superintendent Jim Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency, called it an “incredible achievement,” and said there was “a credible deterrent capable of and against a very real threat.”