Air Force successfully tests ICBM interceptor


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The Air Force today successfully shot down a dummy ICBM missile it had launched from the western Pacific.

As described prior to the test:

The U.S. will launch an ICBM-class target from the Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands and a ground-based interceptor from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. If successful, the “kill vehicle,” or intercept, will collide with the ICBM test target mid-course over the Pacific Ocean… This will be the 18th test of the ground-based interceptor. The last one, in June 2014, was the first success since 2008. The system is nine for 17 since 1999 with other types of target missiles. An ICBM target has never been tested before.

I should note that this successful test is final proof that Reagan’s proposed Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), or “Star Wars” as the leftist press contemptuously called it in their unwavering belief that it could not work, is feasible and can work.

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25 comments

  • Des

    “Star wars” faced tens of thousands of soviet warheads. If less than 1% of them got through then the US would have been devastated.

  • Kyle

    One step closer to ending MAD.

  • DougSpace

    At a time that it is clear that we are facing an ICBM threat from a crazy, small country, I recall the many news reports over the years of the left arguing against the need for the anti-ballistic missile systems and the attempts to stop it.

  • DougSpace

    @Des – If only 1% of the ICBMs were needed then why did both sides so over produce them? If ICBMs could be launched on rough intercept trajectories and detonate near their incoming targets then yes, one would want somewhat more of a large number. In that case, the ICBM force and a semi-capable anti-ballistic missile system could mop up those that the others didn’t destroy. But I don’t know that this is the reason that both sides do overproduced.

  • Tom Billings

    Des, please understand that nuclear deterrence interacted with all the rest of the military capabilities that go into warfare. After 1945 we cut our military spending deeply, while Stalin’s Red Army Divisions (regulars and reserves) increased in number. From 1945-1951, our nuclear deterrence was a bluff, because our budgets for production of what were experimental devices in 1945 were cut by 2/3rds by 1947. Our own government contributed to the fear of nukes at that time, in order to keep Stalin deterred, not knowing he had details of our Plutonium production from Dr. Klaus Fuchs, and could calculate the low number of warheads we could produce.

    Only after the 1949 test by the USSR was the nuclear arms support raised beyond 1945 levels. Only by 1951 did we actually have the number of weapons needed to deter Stalin. The Red Army had 200+ Divisions in its regulars and reserves, with which they could overrun Europe. Each had a Division command and rallying point in a base near a city. By mid-1951 we finally had enough nuclear weapons to be able to hit each of those rallying points reliably. Notably, by early 1952, Stalin gave the go-ahead for his side’s negotiators to end the Korean War.

    The nuclear weapons of the “New Look” strategy served primarily to balance *both* the Divisions of the Red Army *and* the increasing number of Soviet bomber and missile bases for their own nuclear weapons. The Soviets, having guidance systems tech on their missiles that was about 5-7 years behind ours, believed they needed more weapons. That contributed to their armament push.

    Then weapons were added to make sure that a second strike by our side could still take out what was left of Soviet Red Army Divisions’ rallying points. The *only* way that 1 percent, of the 20,000 strategic warheads the USSR had after 1970, could devastate all of US society, was to use them *only* on US cities, instead of our own missile and bomber bases. That was nonsense of the sort the Left indulges in continually over nuclear weapons. That was a strategy that was a sure loser for the Soviets. That would have easily sustained deterrence.

    However, as the Democratic Party radicalized further and further, they ceased all support for Ballistic Missile Defense after the election of Richard Nixon. Unfortunately, too many progressive Republicans joined them. By 1974, BMD operations in the US ceased. By that time BMD proponents were facing the strangest problem. Their opponents could release false information about US BMD technology, that made it look bad, and do it legally, because it was false. By contrast, if BMD proponents released *correct* information to refute anti-BMD radicals, they could be sent to jail, for releasing classified information.

    This is the sort of Catch-21 that has faced BMD proponents for the last 50 years in the US. Meanwhile, those who regard any BMD system as the start on a US Space Force, which would make the US Air Force look thrifty in its budget needs, have been doing their best to make sure the disinformation about BMD continues to be deeply spread through our educational system.

  • Frank

    We must defend and protect ourselves, even if the solutions are not perfect today. Every day we delay is time wasted to find a better solution. Delaying, naysaying and cynicism is not leadership.

  • Edward

    During WWII, it was acceptable for a large portion of bombers to get through the defenses to their target. Each bomb dropped could devastate a city block, but cities could survive and continue to operate. Until the hundreds of bombings became overwhelming.

    After the Soviets got the atomic bomb, the US had to have a defensive screen that prevented any bombers from getting through, as even a single atomic bomb could ruin your whole day.

    When one bomb can ruin your day, 1% of the Soviet arsenal is even worse. Depending upon the cities hit, there may be pandemonium nationwide.

    Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) is only a deterrence when both parties do not want to be destroyed. Now we have a MADman in North Korea developing missiles to carry his nukes, and no one knows whether he cares about avoiding being destroyed. We already do not think that the leaders of Iraq care.

    A 100% effective Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) is our best alternate to assuring that no one ignores the MAD deterrence and launches a nuclear attack anyway. Because just one bomb can ruin your whole day.

  • hondo

    I’m confused. Are all these tests based on direct hit/takedown – or close proximity blast/takedown?
    I believe we had achieved a viable anti-missile defense in the 70s.

  • “. . . “Star Wars” as the leftist press contemptuously called it in their unwavering belief that it could not work, . . ”

    The Russians certainly believed it could work. They’d watched us blow their doors off the two decades prior in aerospace and computer engineering and we had the money (or at least credit) to make a serious go of it. There’s an argument to be made that SDI was a contributing factor in the fall of the Soviet Union. It seemed to me that Progressives were concerned that SDI ‘would’ work, not that it wouldn’t.

  • LocalFluff

    I hope this doesn’t feed an attitude of kicking the can down the road. They can build air defense as fast as NK can build ICBMs. Until they start using MIRVs and other tricks. It very quickly got out of hand, unimaginably enough even to the brink of exterminating human civilization, with Soviet in the 1950s. The lesson learned is to use offensive action to take out the threat in its bud. Which is pretty much today already.

    @hondo
    My simple understanding is that at least THAAD physically impacts its target. Like a bullet hitting a bullet, but at higher speeds.

  • wayne

    LocalFluff– my understanding as well– it’s a kinetic kill vehicle. “hit to kill”

    “multiple kill vehicle hover test”
    2008
    https://youtu.be/KBMU6l6GsdM
    (1:35)

  • mkent

    “’Star wars’ faced tens of thousands of soviet warheads. If less than 1% of them got through then the US would have been devastated.”

    Gee, getting hit with 1% of the Soviet arsenal would have been bad. So let’s get hit with 100% of the arsenal instead. That would be much better. (Yes, that was snark.)

    “Until they start using MIRVs and other tricks.”

    The system has already been shown to work against simple balloon decoys. More sophisticated decoys are possible, of course, but the simple decoys can be defeated.

    “My simple understanding is that at least THAAD physically impacts its target. Like a bullet hitting a bullet, but at higher speeds.”

    Yes. Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3), THAAD, and GMD are all hit-to-kill systems.

  • wodun

    During the Cold War in WA state, the progressives passed a law forbidding the formation of emergency management plans to deal with a nuclear attack because they thought that having a plan would invite an attack or contribute to the possibility there would be a nuclear war.

  • wayne

    wodun- interesting tidbit.

    tangentially– check out

    “The Day Called X”
    CBS television- narrated by Glenn Ford
    “Documents the well-oiled atomic evacuation plan of Portland, Oregon, in the heyday of nuclear preparedness,1955.”
    -Excellent period film of an actual drill that was carried out.
    https://archive.org/details/0735_Day_Called_X_The_02_00_59_00

    embedded player (& download options,) at the Archive page.
    (This is also available at YouTube.)

  • LocalFluff

    The US should ask Russia for locations on its territory where to station its missile defense. Russia covers the entire threatening South Asia. With Russia and the Pacific as air defense zones, the US has little to fear. Missile defense doesn’t work against Russia anyway, they have too many too good launchers and nukes and MIRVs. That jinni is out of the bottle since long. So the only possible choice is to cooperate with them on preventing new nuclear powers from sticking their dirty heads up. That’s a common interest.

  • Wayne

    LocalFluff–
    The Russians are not friends of the American, and never, ever have been. They will eventually have to be annihilated by whatever means necessary and sufficient to render them gone.

  • LocalFluff

    Soviet was the closest friend of the USA during their October revolution and during WWII. There are no geopolitical obstacles between Russia and the US. They have never been at war with each other. But at war in alliance during both world wars (and during the Seven Years war?). It naturally falls out that way, that Russia and the US find common interests, because of geography, history, ethnicity and the economic trade complementarity between Russian raw materials and US manufactured goods.

    And you know what? Soviet is gone now. Communism was the enemy, not the Russians. Russia is today very much less socialist and less islamic than most West European countries. I’m against socialism. Are you against Russians as a “race”?

    The EU has chosen to make itself completely defenseless, divided and infiltrated, and use that as the basis for initiating an isolated aggressive attack against Russia. That’s ill advised. But luckily, the US has nothing at all to care about Russia taking over the deteriorated communist-islamic Western Europe. It would actually only strengthen the US if it got rid of the worthless European crap. The final stage in the American revolution.

  • wayne

    Totalitarian Mastermind Statists, all.
    We should have finished the job in 1945/46.

    All these imported, twisted, European-ideologies need to be rendered into the ash-cash of history.

  • wayne

    Why World War II Matters
    Victor Davis Hanson
    9-16-2016 Hillsdale College event
    https://youtu.be/opDuw4OZ3QI
    (46:09)

  • Edward

    LocalFluff,
    You wrote: “Soviet was the closest friend of the USA during their October revolution and during WWII. There are no geopolitical obstacles between Russia and the US. They have never been at war with each other.

    You seem to have confused alliance and friendship. The US and the Soviet Union did not trust each other during WWII but sort of worked together for a common goal. During WWI, the US sided with the Whites, but it was the Reds who won the revolution and formed the Soviet Union.

    The US and the Soviet Union were never directly at war, but there were several proxy wars, in which each assisted in one side or the other of another war.

  • Pzatchok

    The Communists never trusted the US.
    https://www.warhistoryonline.com/world-war-i/the-day-that-the-usa-invaded-russia-and-fought-with-the-red-army.html

    But even though the Communists won control of Russia they still needed American help even before WWII. Communism never works.
    https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/archives/sovi.html

  • wayne

    USSR– the only Country on Earth, that fought on both sides in WW-2.

  • pzatchok

    I as of yet have no fear of Russia. opinions vary but they are still ruled by a logical person who has control of their military.
    MAD still holds between us.

    But I do fear the little crazy guys who might only have a very few ICBM’s.

  • wayne

    pzatchok –
    Good stuff.

    At least The Old Commies and the New Oligarchs in Russia, value(d) their collective Stuff and their lives’.

  • LocalFluff

    wayne,
    Italy and most countries in Central Europe also changed sides during the war. And the Western allies ignored their promise to Poland. Actually, ALL alliances that existed when ww2 started were broken before the war was ended. And 10 out of the first 11 countries invaded were neutral. So neither alliance nor neutrality works according to the record.

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