(INTELLIHUB) — The Pentagon has some answering to do when it comes to the country’s primary missile defense system after tests shockingly conclude that only 3 out of 9 intercepts actually strike their targets.
The revelation returns to front and center as a U.S. Navy armada was diverted by the head of the Navy’s Pacific Command from Austrailia Saturday and ordered to head toward the Korean Peninsula at near flank speed amidst North Korea’s worsening nuclear provocations.
According to tests and various reports, U.S. defenses may not be capable of adequately protecting the country from a surprise nuclear attack from North Korea due to the fact that the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) isn’t operating up to par as it very well should. Simply put, the $40 billion dollar system is only intercepting ICBM targets 33% of the time and is rather ineffective.
So, in a nutshell, how does GMD work?
“The GMD interceptors are 60-foot tall three-stage rockets,” one report said. “Each has a 5-foot, 150 lb., kill vehicle attached to its tip.”
“In the event of an attack, the interceptors would be launched from underground silos. Once in space, the kill vehicles would separate from their boost rockets and fly independently toward their target at speeds up to 4-miles per second.”
Major flaws of the GMD
The downfall of the GMD is that there are only 37 interceptors in total in the U.S., four of which are in Santa Barbara, California and the remaining 33 are in Alaska.
“In nine simulated attacks since 2004, interceptors have failed to take out their targets 6 out of 9 times,” the report said, which also concluded that such simulations were conducted under favorable conditions and that defending against an actual nuclear attack may not be so easy.
Moreover, other problems plague the GMD and in several test flights, intercepts have veered off course due to a “circuit board malfunction” which caused the thrusters to alter the course of the kill vehicle.
All of these factors and others have now pushed experts to believe that a preemptive strike may be the way to go when it comes to dealing with the North Korean threat.