Riki Ellison, President of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance reported from the Ronald Reagan Missile Defense Site on Vandenberg AFB that today’s successful Ground-Based Interceptor test was a quantum advancement in missile defense technology and an intercept that spanned the globe and sent strong messages to our friends including central Europe, Japan and Israel and to our foes including Iran and North Korea.
At 10:45.02a.m. PDT, a missile defense interceptor going over 16,000 miles per hour directly hit a target missile warhead traveling upwards of 15,000 miles per hour over 100 miles up in space. This high-speed kinetic energy explosion destroyed both missiles leaving heat and dust as remains.
This morning, as the fog lifted along the California coast, the ground-based interceptor flew out of the Ronald Reagan Missile Defense Site at Vandenberg Air Force Base reaching speeds of 16-18,000 miles per hour on its way to intercept an incoming target missile going speeds of more than 15,000 miles per hour and more than 100 miles in space. The solid fuel three stage target missile was launched at 10:22a.m. from the Kodiak Launch Complex in Kodiak, Alaska traveling 1,800 miles south down the West Coast. The Ground-Based Interceptor launched 17 minutes later at 10:39a.m. and flew to the west on a direct course to intersect the path of the target warhead. The interceptor received updates from the command and control system, primarily the warning radar located at Beale Air Force Base north of Sacramento, California. The interceptor used its on-board sensors to track and identify the target warhead, and steered into position to make a direct collision with the warhead measuring four feet in length.
This remarkable technology developed and deployed within four years from a decision by our Congress and President made in December of 2002 is a testament to what the American people can do when faced with a highly visible threat.
A multitude of sensors monitoring the flight included 10 active radar, the most prominent being Sea Based X Band Radar, more than 900 miles off of the coast of San Francisco, two halo jets, and one Black Crow P-3 Orion aircraft.
The intercept that spanned the globe serves five purposes that can be immediately applied beyond the obvious continued testing, development and validation of this technology.
- This intercept gives our State Department and diplomatic efforts the ability to engage North Korea and Iran without repercussions or fear from their ballistic missile threats.
- This intercept displays to the world a scientific proven capability that will question the financial and political investment made by Iran, North Korea and others to invest in ballistic missiles.
- This intercept provides our President and Congress a validated additional option rather then pre-emptive military action on countries that have ballistic missile capability.
- This intercept proves that the Ronald Reagan Missile Defense Site at Vandenberg AFB can protect the American public and the United States from long- range ballistic missile attacks.
- This intercept resolutely commands and requires our Congress to deploy more defensive missiles at Vandenberg AFB than its current capability of two defensive missiles.
This was a great day for Missile Defense, a great day for our Country and a great day for our World as this intercept paves the way for a safer world for all of us.