16:43 GMT +320 November 2017
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    The Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the U.S. ballistic missile defense system launches during a flight test from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, U.S

    US Completes Planned Ground-Based Missile Defense System, But Trump Wants More

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    The US Missile Defence Agency has confirmed the installation of the last planned Ground-Based Missile (GBM) Defense system interceptor, which is supposed to protect the country from a nuclear attack. Though the effectiveness of the system remains questionable, US President Donald Trump has requested that it be expanded.

    The 44th and final Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) missile of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, planned during Barack Obama's presidency, has been successfully installed in Fort Greely, Alaska, according to a Defense News report.

    "MDA and Boeing emplaced the 44th interceptor in its silo at the Missile Defense Complex at Ft. Greely on Thursday, Nov. 2," the agency said in a statement.

    The installation comes months ahead of schedule. Timely though its completion may be, the system itself has been rather spotty in testing.

    As Sputnik reported earlier, GMD is the only US missile defense system that can actually shoot down ICBMs (even the North Korean ones). But, judging by its test history, which was begun in the 1990s, the system's chances of successfully thwarting a nuclear armed missile attack is barely above 50 percent.

    In the words of the former head of the Missile Defense Agency, retired Lt. Gen. Trey Obering, the chances of successfully hitting an ICBM with a GMD are "as good as a coin toss."

    The 44 interceptors installed at Fort Greely are only good enough to shoot down 22 ICBMs. That's probably the reason Trump asked Congress to install 20 more.

    According to an Investor's Business Daily report, the Trump administration asked Congress in a supplemental budget request on November 6 to allocate $4 billion to fund missile defense programs, which include GMD and the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD). The latter is effective only against short to medium-range missiles.

    "This request supports additional efforts to detect, defeat, and defend against any North Korean use of ballistic missiles against the United States, its deployed forces, allies, or partners," Trump wrote in a letter to Congress.

    Of that $4 billion, $200 million will go to building the fourth missile defense silo at Fort Greely, 13 News Now reports.

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    Tags:
    missile defense, GMD missile defense system, US Missile Defense Agency (MDA), Donald Trump, Alaska, United States
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