Members of Congress and conservative lobbyists have been celebrating a very special birthday: President George W. Bush's official activation of the U.S. ballistic missile defense system. But the sad truth is that they're celebrating 10 years of self-delusion. The project is broken, despite the $40 billion spent on it.
On Sunday, a ground-based interceptor fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base destroyed a mock enemy warhead launched from the Marshall Islands. The Pentagon hailed it as a major success for the troubled national missile defense system, which has cost $40 billion since 2004. But, in truth, it changes little.
The success or failure of an upcoming U.S. ballistic missile defense test could affect when the Pentagon deploys 14 more ground-based interceptors to defend against possible missile threats from North Korea. The test— planned for June 22—will focus on the "kill vehicle," which is supposed to destroy incoming missiles.
Last month, the U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a scathing report: the system to defend the U.S. from ballistic missiles doesn't work, and probably never will. But it gets worse. Congress then voted to expand the broken system, allocating money for a new, sub-par missile defense site. How did this happen?
While the US Navy is generally immune to IED attacks (the USS Cole tragedy notwithstanding) it must remain vigilant against ballistic missile strikes launched by hostile nations. When that happens, even before the Phalanx system begins to spool up, US warships engage the Aegis BMD—a nearly impenetrable ship-based…
One hundred US soldiers—the only foreign troops in all of Israel—are stationed atop Mt. Keren, deep in the Negev Desert. Their mission: To monitor Iranian airspace 1000 miles to the Northeast for any sign of a missile launch. Their weapon: The THAAD radar, the most advanced mobile radar array on Earth.
American missile defense often fails spectacularly—but in one of these occasional interception wins, it looks pretty spectacular. Enjoy the slow motion flames and fanfare while it lasts, courtesy of the Navy's newest toy.
The Apollo program was long, arduous, tense, and very, very expensive. America's missile defense ambitions have been all of these things too. The Apollo program put humans on the moon. Missile defense has been a colossal failure. The cost? Equal.
Sometimes it feels like I'm already living in the future. The U.S Army's Space and Missile Defense command plans to have an unmanned spy-ship capable of loitering at 20,000-feet (for up to three weeks) ready to deploy by mid-2011.
Anti-missile systems have popped up often on Giz, but until now none of them have promised what Lockheed Martin's excellently-named Multiple Kill Vehicle-L will do: tackle all the threats inside an ICBM. Each ICBM contains a bunch of Multiple Independently targetable Reentry Vehicles, some containing genuine warheads,…