GMD Intercept Test Expected Soon

The Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system successfully intercepted a mock intercontinental-ballistic-missile-range target for the first time in a May 30 test, according to the Missile Defense Agency. “The intercept of a complex, threat-representative ICBM target is an incredible accomplishment for the GMD system and a critical milestone for this program” said Vice Admiral James Syring, the agency director. “The system demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat.” The GMD system is designed to protect the United States against a limited long-range missile attack from North Korea or Iran. A total of 36 interceptors are currently deployed in Alaska and California and an additional eight are scheduled to be installed by the end of the year. The May 30 test, known as FTG-15, was the first flight intercept test of the system since June 2014 (See ACT, July/August 2014). In the test, a missile interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California collided with a target, launched from the Army’s Kwajalein Test Site in the Marshall Islands, flying at speeds similar to those of an ICBM. The Missile Defense Agency has now conducted 18 intercept tests of the GMD system, of which 10 have been reported as successful.—CHARLES CARRIGAN