Pentagon touts 'critical milestone' after successful missile defense test with interceptors

Source: Washington Examiner | March 25, 2019 | Diana Stancy Correll

The Pentagon celebrated the first successful salvo test of an anti-missile defense system designed to shoot down nuclear-armed intercontinental missiles from enemies such as North Korea.

According to Missile Defense Agency Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, the missile defense system functioned “exactly” as intended after two ground-based interceptors, or GBIs, were launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on Monday to take down a mock warhead that took off 4,000 miles away.

A mock warhead took off from Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

After the threat-representative intercontinental ballistic missile target launched, the GBI-Lead interceptor successfully shot down the unarmed re-entry vehicle. The second interceptor, known as the GBI Trail, then targeted the next “most lethal object” after it failed to identify any other re-entry vehicles, according to the Missile Defense Agency.

“This was the first GBI salvo intercept of a complex, threat-representative ICBM target, and it was a critical milestone,” Greaves said in a statement Monday. “The system worked exactly as it was designed to do, and the results of this test provide evidence of the practicable use of the salvo doctrine within missile defense. The Ground-based Midcourse Defense 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.”

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