Following several recent aggressive moves by a bloodthirsty North Korea, the THAAD missile defense system has made strides that might be cause for optimism in the U.S.. On July 4, Kim Jong-un’s regime successfully tested a long-range, intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching Alaska. He then promised to send more “gift packages” to the U.S., which was left with the reality that South Korea deals with every day — that North Korea could theoretically strike at any time, and the country has made no secret of its quest to strap a nuke to an ICBM. With that said, South Korea and the U.S. executed live-fire bomber drills over the weekend, but THAAD would ideally get the job done in an arguably more efficient manner.
Weirdly — considering the timing and the context at hand — a Department of Defense official told CNN that this THAAD news is not directly tied to North Korea’s most recent threats. Yet regardless of what U.S. officials are publicly putting out there, this news points toward progress, for THAAD has intercepted a mid-range projectile near Alaska during a test:
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system successfully shot down a target over Alaska, according to a news release.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the government and contractor team who executed this flight test today,” said MDA Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves in the statement. “This test further demonstrates the capabilities of the THAAD weapon system and its ability to intercept and destroy ballistic missile threats.”
The bad news? THAAD is currently only able to intercept missiles flying in from an intermediate range or below, which would not do much to stop an ICBM like the one tested by North Korea earlier this month. So while the Pentagon is labeling the THAAD test as a “success,” more strides must be made before THAAD can be counted upon (even with a “perfect record on launches” — 14 out of 14 so far) to sufficiently protect the U.S. against North Korea or any other aggressors.
Currently, the THAAD installation in South Korea has been suspended due to its raging unpopularity within the country and President Moon Jae-in’s discomfort at not being appraised of all developments. However, the Alaska installation is ready to roll, albeit at a less preferable standard than U.S. citizens would currently prefer. Still, Pentagon officials tell Fox News that 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade on Kodiak handled the THAAD launches remarkably well — without being aware of the projectile launch times and as if the system was operating in a true combat scenario.