WASHINGTON — The Missile Defense Agency is deeming the first salvo test — conducted today — of its homeland missile defense system against an intercontinental ballistic missile threat a success, according an agency statement.
The MDA last tested the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System’s (GMD) Ground-Based Interceptors (GBI) in a full-up test against an ICBM target in May 2017.
At the time, the MDA’s director said the agency was next shooting to conduct a more complex salvo test involving two GBIs against an ICBM because firing off two GBIs against one target is more operationally realistic and important in proving out the effectiveness of the overall system.
In the test, the lead GBI destroyed the ICBM’s reentry vehicle “as it was designed to do,” according to the agency’s statement.
The trailing GBI “then looked at the resulting debris and remaining objects, and, not finding any other reentry vehicles, selected the next ‘most lethal object’ it could identify, and struck that, precisely as it was designed to do,” the statement adds.
The ICBM target was launched from the Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, which is over 4,000 miles away from the GBI interceptors buried in silos in the ground at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.“This was the first GBI salvo intercept of a complex, threat-representative ICBM target, and it was a critical milestone,” MDA Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves said in the statement.