Yesterday, over the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the newest generation of ground based interceptor defending the United States, the CE-II, successfully collided and destroyed an incoming ballistic missile warhead high in space amongst decoys and countermeasures representative of a long-range North Korean ballistic missile that would threaten the United States of America. This technical achievement validates a portion of the ground based interceptors currently deployed in Alaska and California, and leads the way forward to replace the entire fleet of 30 interceptors with CE-II interceptors, retiring the first generation CE-I which began deployment in 2004.
Riki Ellison, Chairman and Founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, a non - profit based in Alexandria attended the test and offered the below comments. Ellison is one of the top lay experts in the world in the field of missile defense. This successful test comes on the heels of recent criticism about the defense system.
Ellison stated: "This success is a significant milestone and long awaited requirement that demonstrates the system's reliability and increases the confidence of the North American Combatant Commander and Command who is responsible for the defense of the country. This validation of the overall system will propel the development and deployment of future discrimination sensors such as the Long Range Discrimination Radar, which will further enhance the reliability of this overall system. The success of this test today also reduces the amount of interceptors required to be fired at an incoming long-range ballistic missile, thereby increasing the capability of the limited number of 30 interceptors and reducing the cost of engagement. This validated and demonstrated new capability keeps U.S. homeland missile defense a generation ahead of the current and near-future ballistic missile threats from North Korea and Iran.
It is a significant achievement that reflects the changes in organizational culture by the developers of the system, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), and MDA Director VADM James Syring, who has overcome leadership decisions from the past and the lack of investment which has plagued the performance of the CE-II interceptor since its inception.
Extraordinary circumstances of a rushed deployment, inconsistent testing, and politics that has delayed the modernization of the system has resulted in an extraordinary display of leadership which has made our nation safer today than it was yesterday."
Source: Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance