Quick Note: U.S. Sends Interceptors to Guam to Shoot Down North Korean Nukes
April 3, 2013 5:24 PM
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Pentagon says interceptor deployment is "just in case" type rollout
In recent months an increasingly bellicose North Korea has defiantly
tested intercontinental ballistic missiles
blew up trial nuclear warheads
scrapped a sixty-year-old armistice
with the U.S. and its southern neighbor, and -- most recently --
restarted a mothballed nuclear reactor
used in production of material for nuclear weapons.
As the threats from North Korea increase, the U.S. has
a truck-based, radar-driven interceptor missile system to Guam. According to the
U.S. Department of Defense
, the system will protect the island territory of the U.S. if North Korea attempts to
attack it with a ballistic missile, as threatened
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System
(THAADS) fires on a target rocket when it's in its terminal descent phase, plunging towards the defended territory.
The THAADS system is produced by top defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. (
The U.S. has deployed the THAADS interceptor trucks to Guam.
[Image Source: Lockheed Martin]
While U.S. defense experts doubt North Korea would be able to hit the U.S. mainland with a nuclear missile, Guam -- 2,000 away from the hostile Asian dictatorship -- might be a slightly more feasible target. Both South Korea and Japan have
extensive interceptor systems
, which are likely on high alert.
U.S. ally Israel provided the most impressive real-world demonstration of a missile-interception system to date. Its
"Iron Dome" system
shot down approximately 9 out of 10 missiles that were headed towards a populated region. Past interceptor systems used in the Persian Gulf conflicts by the U.S. had
lower success rates
Ballistic missile interception is a more unproven art. Ballistic missiles are bigger (and hence a bigger target), but are also generally faster than the kind of small rockets Iron Dome or Patriot-missile (U.S.) interceptor systems target. Israel has an interceptor system of its own
, which the U.S. co-founded and shares technology from. Fortunately, that system has never been called upon in a real war scenario.
U.S. Department of Defense
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
4/4/2013 12:52:50 AM
The answer is easy, the Pentagon is always looking for a reason to increase its spending and always looking for ways to try its new toys.
4/5/2013 8:06:01 PM
Really? I thought you people all thought it was about oil? Wouldn't have anything to do about the South Koreans and Japanese being our allies?
"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
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