Dear Members and Friends,
Out of the Osan Air Base in Korea, the “Black Cats” fly continuous reconnaissance missions with their U-2 1955 built single engine jets up to heights of 70,000 feet above the Korean Peninsula in South Korean air space to observe and gather intelligence on the current build up of North Korea’s missile launch complex. This vital mission is flown by some of our best pilots due to the extreme difficulty of landing the U-2 with its elongated wings, the endless hours of solitude in a pressurized suit in confined space along with the great ground crews enable defensive and preventive measures to be in place ahead of time in protection of our citizens, troops, and allies.
As in the Korean Peninsula today, off the northwest coast, a little less than 200 miles from the River Han and the Gangnam district of Seoul, Korea is North Korea’s Sohae launch facility where three rocket stages have been stacked and connected on top of each other in preparation for a space launch later this month. Currently, the North Korean payload still needs to be placed and secured on top of the stacked third stage with a protective shroud before it can begin its liquid fueling of the three stages which will take days. The anticipated launch date is December 17th. This day marks the anniversary of the death of Kim Jong Il, the father of North Korea’s current Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un.
This missile launch attempt violates and defies United Nations Security Resolutions 1718 and 1874 as well as the United States of America’s diplomatic policy directed towards North Korea against missile launches.
North Korea has notified the United Nations for area closures in preparation for its empty missile stages fall during the upcoming anticipated space launch and claims the launch is for the placement of a satellite in space. The first closure areas were accurate in the previous North Korean missile launch failure in April of this year, demonstrating a success in the missile’s guidance systems. Quality control on separating stages has caused the past failures of recent North Korean missile launches and will be the focus of this test for North Korea. Similar to last April, this upcoming launch, as indicated by its geographical closure areas will have a Southern trajectory before the missile goes over the South Pole and enters into a polar orbit over the North Pole.
The trajectory of this North Korean missile launch will be determined and provided by many sea, land, air, and space based sensors within seconds shared by the U.S., Japan, and the Republic of Korea to provide a very quick and accurate ballistic track to establish if it is a territorial threat.
Our Nation’s USNORTHCOM Combatant Commander, General Charles Jacoby, Jr., is responsible for the defense of our homeland and has the necessary confidence from proven reliability in the missile defense of our nation against a North Korean ballistic missile. The United States Ground-based Midcourse Defense system deployed today, with its first generation interceptors located in Fort Greely, Alaska, has the proven capability to destroy this North Korean missile.
We as a nation and a world are very fortunate that the Republic of Korea, Japan, and the United States of America will be on military high alert with their common integrated deployed missile defense systems on ships, land, space and airborne that they have all invested in and have successfully tested for protection of their citizens and for the security of their territories should this North Korean missile go array or is not intended to do what it is stated to by the North Korean government as was the case when a North Korean missile flew over Japan in 1998.
A success of staging into orbit for this upcoming Korean missile launch would be of critical importance, as any nation’s proven ability to place an object into orbit through a space missile launch proves that nation’s inherent ability to build an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that can release a payload to any place on earth. That payload, if it is a reentry vehicle rather than a satellite, must have technologies to allow it to survive the high speeds and heat of re entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. Iran who is seeking ICBM and reentry capability has been significantly sanctioned by the United Nations is expected to attend, observe, and learn as guests of North Korea.
It was a significant honor for MDAA to be with the “Black Cats” at the Osan Air Base in Korea, the U.S. Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) ships in Yokosuka, Japan, and the Ground-based Missile Defense system in Fort Greely, Alaska this month in recognizing and honoring those missile defense war fighters that are doing battle to prepare and defend against this upcoming North Korean missile launch.
This is a great team defense that demonstrates to the world what it takes to win.