The US has made significant progress in the fight against the threat posed by North Korean and Iranian missiles. During a test in the Pacific, for the first time, a long-range missile was destroyed from the sea and fired towards the United States.
The Intercept at Hawaii is part of the missile shield designed to protect the United States from a missile attack. So far, the tests of this defense system have confined themselves to firing interception missiles from land to destroy an enemy missile in flight.
With the sea version, the US now has a new anti-missile system to arm itself against the threat posed by, in particular, North Korea. The successful action of the Navy ship USS John Finn comes a month after North Korea first showed a new long-range missile that could pose a major threat to the United States. This missile is much larger than the Hwasong-15, the North Korean long-range missile that could hit the entire U.S. territory. To the Great Terror of the US, Pyongyang tested the Hwasong-15 in 2017.
“This was an incredible achievement and a crucial milestone,” said Vice Admiral John Hill about The Intercept. Hill runs the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) which is responsible for the development of the missile shield. At the same time, however, arms control experts warned of the reaction of Russia and China, which may feel threatened by American success. The fact is that the missile creation at sea makes their nuclear missile arsenal less dangerous.
‘After this test, China will certainly feel justified in its expansion of the intercontinental missile arsenal’, tweeted Hans Kristensen, director of the Arms Control Group Federation of American Scientists. ‘Also expects Russia to improve its missile defence capability.’
The test was conducted northeast of Hawaii, the area where the U.S. has been trying to perfect the missile shield for years. From the Kwajalein atoll, a counterfeit long-range missile was fired that cooled in Hawaii. With, among other things, sensors and a high-tech radar system, the “enemy” missile was followed. This information was passed on to the destroyer USS John Finn. This one then fired a state-of-the-art Standard 3 rocket into the fake rocket.
The US has so far concentrated mainly on the land version of the missile shield. With interceptors in silos in Alaska and California, the Pentagon was hoping to neutralize the North Korean missile threat. After another successful test of the land version in 2017, the MDA said that the US now had a ‘good and credible deterrent’ against rocket attacks.
The Congress immediately praised the successful action of the USS John Finn on Tuesday. “A historic achievement,” says Republican Doug Lamborn. But according to Kristensen and other critics of the missile shield, it is still necessary to see how successful the Sea system will be in practice. Like other nuclear powers, North Korea can supply its long-range missiles with’ dummy warheads ‘ to confuse the US Navy ships.
The capacity of the new North Korean long-range missile, which was seen during a military parade in October, is still unclear. Weeks after Pyongyang had tested the predecessor of this rocket in 2017, the Hwasong-15, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said that the US would never again dare to threaten or attack the country.
“The whole continent is within the reach of our nuclear attack force and the nuclear button is always on my desk,” said Kim in his New Year’s speech. ‘The United States must be clearly aware that this is not only a threat but also a reality.’