May 30, 2017

U.S. intercepts mock warhead in signal to North Korea

Matt Hartman / AP

The U.S. intercepted a mock warhead Tuesday over the Pacific in a demonstration of the U.S. missile defense program, per the AP. The mock warhead was launched from a Pacific atoll, and the interceptor rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Why it matters: It's the first interception of an intercontinental range missile like the one North Korea is developing. Plus, it signals the Pentagon has fixed a system that worked in fewer than half of its previous nine tests.

What's next:

  • The Pentagon will be increasing the number of deployed interceptors in California and Alaska from 36 to 44 by the end of this year, with congressional support.
  • This comes the same day that the Missile Defense Agency announced it is ramping up its development of the Multi-Object Kill Vehicle (MOKV), an interceptor that can block several incoming warheads. This is key since it can block a warhead and several decoy warheads all at once, which is a capability North Korea is likely developing to be able to obfuscate which nuke is the real threat, per Defense One.

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