Pentagon Plans First Intercept Test For Eventual North Korean ICBM


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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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The Pentagon is reportedly planning to practice shooting down long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) like the one that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un hopes to field.

North Korea’s ballistic missile program is progressing faster than expected, and the Department of Defense is investing in improved missile defense systems, including a first ICBM intercept test, according to Matt Lee from the Associated Press.

The test, which is not being conducted solely because of North Korea’s weapons advances, is scheduled for next Tuesday. While the U.S. has several defense systems in place to counter incoming ballistic missiles, the anti-missile systems designed to bring down an ICBM are the least reliable, the AP introduced.

The Ground-based Midcourse Defense system fires a rocket into space, releasing a “kill vehicle” that can be steered into the path of the enemy missile. The kinetic approach to missile defense is particularly challenging, as it involves striking a speeding bullet with another bullet.

The interceptor system has been in place since 2004, but American missile shields have yet to be tested in combat, creating a disconcerting uncertainty as rogue states develop increasingly-powerful weaponry.

The North recently tested the Hwasong-12, a new medium, long-range ballistic missile, which some observers believe could be the technological predecessor to an eventual North Korean ICBM.

The North has not yet tested an ICBM, but Kim Jong Un claimed January that his country was in the final stages of preparation for an ICBM test.

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