U.S. successfully tests missile defense system in Alaska following North Korean threats

Saul Bowman
August 3, 2017

The U.S. military announced over the weekend that it had tested the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in Alaska by launching a ballistic missile over the Pacific Ocean.

'It's something we have confidence in, ' added Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis of THAAD. THAAD is created to launch ground-to-air missiles that seek and destroy enemy ballistic missiles. It uses "hit-to-kill" technology where kinetic energy from the interceptor missile destroys an incoming target.

North Korea's ICBM flew nearly 900 km and reached a maximum altitude of more than 3,700 km during the test on July 28, leading experts to believe it could reach a large part of U.S. territory.

An ejection test is created to see whether a missile can be ejected by high pressure steam out of the launch canister in a submarine and into the air before its engine ignites and takes flight.

U.S. officials also noted that a North Korean Sang-O submarine was operating in the Yellow Sea and the length of its deployment was notable.

Experts believe if Friday's test had been fired on a flatter, standard trajectory, it could have threatened cities like Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago.


The test reportedly occurred at the Sinpo Naval Shipyard on Sunday and is the third of its kind in less than a month. THAAD is strictly a defensive weapon system.

The target missile, air-launched by an Air Force C-17, was detected, tracked and intercepted by a THAAD battery at Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak, an MDA statement said.

President Donald Trump told reporters at his second full Cabinet meeting that his administration will be able to take care of North Korea but offered no specifics about what he plans to do.

The US military this year began deploying THAAD to South Korea, a move that infuriated China, which has argued the deployment would further destabilize the situation on the Korean peninsula.

Earlier this month, CNN also reported citing multiple military officials that the North had sent a diesel-powered Romeo Class sub on an unprecedented patrol and had been outfitting its Gorae Sub with a possible missile launch demonstration tube.

The move, which could spark retaliation attacks from Jong-Un, would be a major step towards all-out war to stop North Korea from developing nuclear weapons.

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