The U.S. Missile Defense Agency and aerospace giant Boeing for the first time launched two Ground-based Midcourse Defense system interceptors to destroy a threat-representative target, validating the fielded system protects the United States from intercontinental ballistic missiles.
According to a statement by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, two ground-based missile, or GMD, interceptors in rapid succession Monday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California against a simulated intercontinental ballistic missile launched from a test site on the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific.
In the test, one interceptor struck the target in space. The second interceptor observed that intercept before destroying additional debris to ensure missile destruction. The test is known as a “two-shot salvo” engagement. The target launched from Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean while the interceptors launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
“The data collected from this test will enhance missile defense for years to come and solidify confidence in the system,” said Paul Smith, Boeing vice president and program director, Ground-based Midcourse Defense. “We continue to increase the system’s reliability as the U.S. government plans to expand the number of interceptors protecting the country.”
GMD interceptors are located at Vandenberg Air Force Base and Alaska’s Fort Greely. The system is an integral part of America’s layered ballistic missile defense architecture. Boeing has been the GMD prime contractor since 2001.