Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, head of the Missile Defense Agency, told reporters last week that he is “very confident” that the nation’s fledgling ballistic missile defense system could shoot down the long-range ballistic missile North Korea appears on the verge of launching. The US currently has 11 interceptors in silos at Ft. Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg AFB, Calif., that could tackle an ICBM. MDA has tested the interceptors and has brought the system, including radars, satellites, and relays, to operational status at various times. Reuters news service quotes Obering, “From what I’ve seen from our testing from the last several years … and what I know about the system and its capabilities, I’m very confident.” (At least one sage former defense official is less sanguine.)
The Air Force has picked Northrop Grumman over L3Harris and Lockheed Martin to develop and build the Stand-in Attack Weapon, meant to swiftly destroy enemy air defense sites and other high-value targets.