One of the key elements to remember today -when reviewing articles and information about a successful ICBM intercept by a gound-based launch interceptor missile- is the actual interception happened in space (low earth orbit).
This shield program was the visionary “Star Wars” missile defense system originally proposed by President Ronald Reagan.
The development of Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) systems are in conjunction with an anticipated future ‘space-based’ orbiting intercept system – to create the ICBM defense shield. Today’s GMD interceptor test was successful. GMD monitors are on land, sea and in orbit. Congratulations USAF
Around the clock, every day of the year, the GMD system acts as the nation’s shield and first line of defense to warn, alert and defend against the threat of ballistic missile attacks.
(CALIFORNIA) […] Today was the very first live-fire test against an ICBM class target for GMD and the United States defense system against ballistic missiles.
GMD has sensors on land, sea and space to detect threats. Once a threat is detected, a three-stage solid rocket booster blasts the EKV into space. When it is outside the Earth’s atmosphere, EKV takes the mission forward and uses advanced multi-color sensors to detect the incoming warheads.
Instead of using a traditional warhead, EKV destroys the threat by colliding with it — a process known as “hit-to-kill.” EKVs can destroy missiles using nothing more than the force of this massive collision.
The threat is destroyed at a safe distance out in space to keep Americans safe on the ground.
Missile Defense Agency’s test today involved launching a simulated intercontinental ballistic missile from the Marshall Islands. The objective was to shoot down the “threat” in space by firing an interceptor – the EKV- from the Vandenburg Air Force base in California.
North Korea and other countries have ratcheted up missile development and testing recently. This EKV test is part of ongoing testing planned well before the recent escalation with North Korea’s own tests, but considering the timing, it sends a very strong message.
This is the tenth successful intercept for the EKV. Raytheon’s SM-3 interceptor is another weapon that the U.S. Navy uses to defeat short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats. EKV and SM-3 together have a combined record of more than 40 successful intercepts in space. (read more)