The official video actually doesn’t show the rocket hitting anything
According to the Pentagon, the much anticipated intercept of an intercontinental ballistic missile was a success, and the mock ICBM warhead was shot down over the Pacific “in a success for America’s missile defense program.” However unlike the Russians who show their rockets nullifying ICBMs, the Pentagon has not provided such evidence.
The test was the first of its kind in nearly three years, and was the first test ever targeting an intercontinental-range missile like North Korea is developing.
The Missile Defense Agency said it was the first live-fire test against a simulated ICBM for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) and hailed it as an “incredible accomplishment.”
“This 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,” Vice Admiral Jim Syring, director of the agency, said quoted by Reuters.
“This is one element of a broader missile defense strategy that we can use to employ against potential threats,” Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told reporters.
A successful test was by no means guaranteed and the Pentagon sought to manage expectations earlier in the day, noting that the United States had multiple ways to try to shoot down a missile from North Korea.
In a just released statement, the Missile Defense Agency said that during the test, an ICBM-class target was launched from the Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Multiple sensors provided target acquisition and tracking data to the Command, Control, Battle Management and Communication (C2BMC) system. The Sea-Based X-band radar, positioned in the Pacific Ocean, also acquired and tracked the target. The GMD system received the target tracking data and developed a fire control solution to intercept the target.
Riki Ellison, founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, described the test as “vital” prior to launch. “We are replicating our ability to defend the United States of America from North Korea, today,” Ellison said.
As Reuters adds, a test failure could have deepened concern about a program that according to one estimate has so far cost more than $40 billion. In the fiscal year 2018 budget proposal sent to Congress last week, the Pentagon requested $7.9 billion for the Missile Defense Agency, including about $1.5 billion for the GMD program.