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Homeland defense interceptor defeats ballistic missile in test

The US Missile Defense Agency’s upgraded Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) has intercepted an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) in a live-fire test at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The test was conducted in cooperation with US Northern Command, the US Space Force Space Launch Delta 30 and the US Space Command Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense. It demonstrated the ability of the MDA’s Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) capability to engage threats faster.

The test employed an upgraded GBI with a Capability Enhanced-II Block 1 Exo-Atmospheric Kill Vehicle. This test was also the first test of a three-stage GBI operating in two-stage mode, which means the third stage was commanded not to ignite and allowed earlier release of the kill vehicle, providing closer-range engagements.

The primary objective of the test was to demonstrate the ability of GMD to engage a target in the expanded engagement space made possible by the GBI in two-stage mode.

This test was also the first integrated GMD flight test using sensor data from the Army Navy/ Transportable Radar Surveillance Model-2 Forward Based Mode with and Sea-Based X-Band radar with upgrades.

This new capability, known as a 2-/3-Stage selectable GBI, will be deployed in the next GMD capability delivery to the Warfighter. This capability gives the Warfighter greater flexibility in executing the defense of the homeland while significantly expanding the battlespace for successful threat engagement. The upgraded GBI will be deployed in the next GMD capability delivery, the agency said.

The GMD element of the Missile Defense System defends the US homeland against ballistic missile threats from rogue Nations such as North Korea and Iran. It provides the USNORTHCOM the capability to engage and destroy intermediate- and long-range ballistic missile threats to the US homeland, though not air- or sea-launched Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs).

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