The US has these options to stop a North Korean missile

North Korea has launched two missile tests in the past two days, and Japan believes the regime’s ICBMs have the potential to reach the US

On Friday, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff reported that an ICBM was launched from North Korea’s capital Pyongyang around 10:15 a.m. local time and flew about 621 miles east and reached an altitude of 3,790 miles.

“The ICBM-class ballistic missile launched this time could have a range of over 15,000 km [approximately 9,321 miles] calculated based on the flight distance of this ICBM,” Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said in a statement.

“It depends on the weight of the warhead, but in that case the US mainland would be included in the range,” Hamada added.

The US, which described the missile test as a “brazen” violation of UN resolutions, is analyzing details of the launch on Friday, but it’s not the first time intelligence officials have been preparing for a strike across the Pacific Ocean.

Back in 2017, then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis said another missile launched by North Korea that year had demonstrated its ability to hit “anywhere in the world,” including the United States

However, options exist to prevent a devastating missile attack from reaching the US, and intelligence officials have worked to strengthen such defense systems as North Korea has continued to develop its long-range weapons.

ICBM North Korea USA
Above is a South Korean Air Force F-35 fighter during aerial exercises in response to North Korea’s ICBM launch November 18 at an undisclosed location in South Korea. North Korea has launched two missile tests in the past two days and Japan believes the regime’s ICBMs have the potential to reach the US
South Korean Ministry of Defense/Getty Images

Steve Shinkel, aerospace professor at the US Naval War College, said news week that the Department of Defense has 44 ground-based interceptors (GBIs) in California and Alaska capable of intercepting a North Korean ICBM.

GBIs are anti-ballistic missile components of the US Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System “designed to deter an adversary with a limited number of nuclear weapons such as North Korea may possess,” Shinkel explained.

Although they would not be able to defeat a warhead coming from Russia or China, GBIs can intercept a North Korean ICBM during mid-flight, out of atmosphere.

But Shinkel said the development of hypersonic glide vehicles remains a “significant threat and challenge” because the US has yet to develop defenses for the hypersonic weapons technology pursued by Russia and China. On March 19, Russian military officials claimed they had fired hypersonic missiles for the first time.

Shortly thereafter, General Glen VanHerck, commander of United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), called on the Department of Defense to develop the technology to help “determine if an attack is underway.” , and giving the national leaders as much time and as many options as possible.”

“I cannot defend myself against an attack by a hypersonic glide vehicle, nor do I have a duty to defend myself,” VanHerck said in a March 24 statement.

“It is imperative that the Department of Defense develops and deploys an integrated space-based domain awareness network capable of detecting and tracking ICBMs, hypersonic weapons and UNCLASSIFIED 17 cruise missiles as quickly as possible,” he added. The US has these options to stop a North Korean missile

Rick Schindler

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