Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



MISSILE DEFENSE
To shoot down or not? NKorea launch highlights intercept issues
By By Thomas Watkins with Shingo Ito in Tokyo
Washington (AFP) Sept 17, 2017


North Korea's latest missile launch over Japan set sirens blaring and triggered alerts telling people to seek shelter -- yet neither Tokyo nor Washington tried to shoot the rocket down.

The test follows one in August that saw another rocket soar over Hokkaido. In that case too, much-vaunted Japanese and US missile-intercept capabilities were not used.

Now some in the United States are wondering why all this sophisticated weaponry isn't being used, especially as North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un accelerates toward his goal of building a nuclear missile capable of striking the United States.

"The next time the North Koreans launch a rocket, especially one that will traverse over our ally Japan, I would hope that we shoot it down as a message to the North Koreans and to other people, like in Japan, who are counting on us," Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher told lawmakers this week.

"Unless we demonstrate we're willing to use force, there's no reason for them to believe we will."

The US Pacific Command confirmed Friday's rocket was an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), and Seoul's defense ministry said it probably traveled around 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles), hurtling to a maximum altitude of 770 kilometers.

The missile, which fell in the Pacific Ocean, represented North Korea's furthest-ever flight.

Evans Revere and Jonathan Pollack of the Brookings Institution wrote in a paper that Washington should declare that any future North Korean missiles toward or over US or allied territory would be deemed a direct threat that would "be addressed with the full range of US and allied defensive capabilities."

- Why no shoot down -

The United States and Japan together claim they can shoot incoming missiles, but officials say Friday's siren-sounding launch didn't meet that threshold.

If the US and its allies "would have determined that it was a direct threat, we would have shot it down," said Pentagon spokesman Colonel Rob Manning, noting the military's "deep arsenal of capabilities."

For Japan, these include advanced Patriot batteries, which can stop lower altitude missiles, and SM-3 missiles it is developing with the US that can take out high-flying short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

The technology is imperfect but the Pentagon has demonstrated it can hit ICBM and intermediate-range missile targets.

Bruce Klingner, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, noted that when North Korea flies a missile over Japan, it travels higher than the capabilities of any ballistic missile-defense system stationed nearby, including the SM-3.

Also, Japan is a pacifist country constitutionally limited to taking military action only in self defense.

Hideshi Takesada, a North Korea and defense expert who is a professor at Takushoku University in Tokyo, told AFP that Japan plans to intercept a missile only when it enters its territorial air or objects fall onto Japanese territory.

Recent missiles have flown far above Japan and nothing fell to the ground.

"Therefore, the government did not issue a destruction order," Takesada said.

While Japan has decent anti-missile technology, it's difficult to cover the entire Japanese archipelago, experts noted.

"Also, it's technically hard to judge if a missile flying in an early stage can actually be a direct threat to the Japanese territory," Akira Kato, an international politics professor at J.F. Oberlin University in Tokyo, told AFP.

Japan and the United States do not want to risk trying an intercept unless it is posing a certain threat. A failed attempt could cause wide alarm and tip off Kim about any limitations.

"A potential failure in intercepting a missile could only result in giving an unnecessary impression that Japan's capability of missile defense is insufficient," Kato said.

Japan also has a network of Aegis missile-defense destroyers, and President Donald Trump wants Tokyo and South Korea to increase buys of such US gear. In Japan's case, that could include the purchase of a land-based version of Aegis.

- Boost phase -

According to the New York Times, the US saw Friday's missile being fueled up a day earlier.

Current US missile-defense technologies focus on stopping a North Korean missile when it is in mid-flight or during the "terminal" stage of its ballistic arc as it plummets towards its target.

But the Pentagon also wants to develop technologies to take out missiles the moment they leave the launch pad, when they are in their so-called "boost phase."

The missiles at that point are laden with explosive fuel and traveling more slowly, so are more vulnerable and could be taken out with another missile launched from nearby.

The US military is also exploring launching cyber attacks and even the possibility of mounting lasers on drones, making them capable of shooting down ballistic missiles shortly after launch.

MISSILE DEFENSE
'Take cover' - but where? Japanese helpless over N.Korea threat
Tokyo (AFP) Sept 16, 2017
Take cover in a sturdy building or get underground. That's the emergency advice given to the Japanese people in the event of a North Korean missile strike. But there are two big problems: most Japanese homes are made of wood and lack a basement. In the countryside, there is often no building made of concrete. And with only a matter of minutes from launch to impact, there's simply no ... read more

Related Links
Learn about missile defense at SpaceWar.com
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
All about missiles at SpaceWar.com
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

MISSILE DEFENSE
Aussie astronaut calls for establishment of national space agency

NASA's Robotic 'Sniffer' Confirms Space Station Leak, Repair

Australia to create national space agency

Space Cooperation Between China, Russia Needs Long-Term Mechanism

MISSILE DEFENSE
What looks good on paper may look good in space

ISRO to resume satellite launches by December

Demonstrator 3 linear aerospike ready to start tests

Mechanisms are Critical to Space Vehicle Flight Success

MISSILE DEFENSE
HIAD heat shield material feels the burn during arc jet testing

Six emerge from 8-mo Mars experiment in Hawaii dome

Hope to discover sure signs of life on Mars

More evidence of water on Mars

MISSILE DEFENSE
Work on China's mission to Mars 'well underway'

Chinese company eyes development of reusable launch vehicle

Mars probe to carry 13 types of payload on 2020 mission

China's cargo spacecraft separates from Tiangong-2 space lab

MISSILE DEFENSE
Thomas calls for new comprehensive Australian Space Agency at IAC address

Lockheed Martin introduces new satellite bus lineup

Bulgaria Sat Wins "Newcomer Satellite Operator of the Year" for 2017

Transitional FSS industry adapting, innovating to spur recovery

MISSILE DEFENSE
Positive, negative or neutral, it all matters: NASA explains space radiation

A dream of foam

Space radiation is risky business for the human body

Corrosion in real time

MISSILE DEFENSE
NASA's Hubble captures blistering pitch-black planet

KFU astronomers discovered an exoplanet together with Turkish and Japanese colleagues

FINESSE Mission to Investigate Atmospheres of Hundreds of Alien Worlds

Scientists propose new concept of terrestrial planet formation

MISSILE DEFENSE
Global Aerospace Corporation to present Pluto lander concept to NASA

Pluto features given first official names

Hibernation Over, New Horizons Continues Kuiper Belt Cruise

Jupiter's Auroras Present a Powerful Mystery




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement