Tags: Report | US | Missile Defense | System | Test | Fails

LA Times Report: US' $40B Missile Defense System Test Fails

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By    |   Wednesday, 06 Jul 2016 10:03 AM

According to a Los Angeles Times investigation, the United States' $40 billion Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system failed its last test, despite glowing press releases that touted its success.

The Times' reporting asks two important questions:
  1. What would happen in the event North Korea, for example, followed through on its threat to launch nuclear missiles on the U.S.?
  2. Why hasn't the Pentagon been forthright about the defense system that has a spotty test record?
At issue is the performance of something called a divert thruster, the key component to an interceptor that would ostensibly bring down an attacking warhead, the Times reported. The thrusters have a record of performance problems dating back to 2010, according to the Times.

Anonymous scientists confirmed to the Times the thrusters failed in its January test, and called claims of success by the Pentagon and the defense contractors that built the systems "hyperbole."

The origins of the GMD go back to the Bill Clinton administration, when concerns first materialized over North Korea's ambitions to enter the nuclear game, the Times reported.

While deterrence is the best defense against super powers like China or Russia, GMD was intended to be the best defense against rogue states, like North Korea, that aren't as concerned with retaliatory measures, the Times reported.

So while the Clinton administration funded the research, he was hesitant to unveil it over technical problems. Then George W. Bush put GMD into action, declaring it operational in 2004, according to the Times.

The Times reported it was that "breakneck pace" at which components were designed and built that are at the fore of the performance problems 12 years later.

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According to a Los Angeles Times investigation, the United States' $40 billion Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system failed its last test, despite glowing press releases that touted its success.
Report, US, Missile Defense, System, Test, Fails
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2016-03-06
Wednesday, 06 Jul 2016 10:03 AM
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