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US Missile Defense Launch 'Spectacle' for Japan, S Korea

© AP Photo / U.S. Air Force In this photo provided by U.S. Air Force, an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
In this photo provided by U.S. Air Force, an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. - Sputnik International
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On Tuesday, the United States successfully tested its intercontinental ballistic missile interceptor system. According to military expert Alexander Zhilin, the test was a demonstrative gesture.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (August 31, 2016) An unarmed Trident II D5 missile launches from the Ohio-class fleet ballistic-missile submarine USS Maryland (SSBN 738) off the coast of Florida. The test launch was part of the U.S. Navy Strategic Systems Programs demonstration and shakedown operation certification process - Sputnik International
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The Pentagon successfully tested its Ground-based Midcourse Defense System (GMD), the Missile Defense Agency announced Tuesday.

During the tests, an ICBM-class target was launched from the Raegan Test Site in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. A ground-based intercepting missile was fired from an air force base in California. According to the statement, the target was hit and destroyed as a result of a "direct collision."

The test marks the first time the GMD has been used against an ICBM-class target. All previous launches have been against intermediate-range ballistic missile targets.

"Initial indications are that the test met its primary objective, but program officials will continue to evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test," the statement added.

Ramstein Air Base, Germany - Sputnik International
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The GMD is a major component of the United States’ missile defense system, aimed at intercepting incoming warheads in space, during the midcourse phase of their ballistic trajectory flight. Currently, 30 intercepting missile are deployed in Alaska and California. An additional 15 missiles are planned to be deployed in 2017.

The test came two days after another ballistic missile launch by North Korea. In response to an increase in Pyongyang’s military activities, Washington has recently been ramping up its presence in the region, including the THAAD deployment in South Korea.

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor arrives at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, in this handout picture provided by the United States Forces Korea (USFK) and released by Yonhap on March 7, 2017. Picture taken on March 6, 2017 - Sputnik International
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In an interview with Radio Sputnik, Alexander Zhilin, head of the Center for Social Aspects of National Security, suggested that the US conducted a "demonstrative" test.

"As the Pentagon reported a missile targeted was successfully destroyed in a direct collision. In fact, this was a typical training launch, routine for the strategic forces. There’s nothing new about it," Zhilin said.

According to him, this entire "spectacle" was staged for taxpayers and to convince South Korea and Japan to pay to the US for protection from North Korea.

"The missile defense system was notified about the launch. The target was acquired in advance and the flight trajectory was known. Thus, the successful result of this show was guaranteed," the expert concluded.

 

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