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«Are US defences strong enough to ward off North Korean missiles?» («Американская ПРО достаточно сильна, чтобы сдержать северокорейские ракеты?»)

«Are US defences strong enough to ward off North Korean missiles?» («Американская ПРО достаточно сильна, чтобы сдержать северокорейские ракеты?»)
Август 20
00:40 2017

Предлагаем вниманию наших зарубежных читателей размещённую на сайте авторитетного американского издания The Guardian статью «Are US defences strong enough to ward off North Korean missiles?» («Американская ПРО достаточно сильна, чтобы сдержать северокорейские ракеты?»).

От редакции ENF:

По мнению автора материала Юэна Макаскилла, «…разгоряченная риторика между администрацией Трампа и Северной Кореей сосредотачивает внимание на ракетных технологиях и, что имеет равную важность для жителей Южной Кореи, Японии и США, — на ПРО».

Рекомендуется к прочтению на языке оригинала.

Ссылка на русский перевод — в подвале статьи.

================================

The heated rhetoric between the Trump administration and North Korea is focusing attention on missile technology and, just as importantly for the residents of South Korea, Japan and the US, anti-missile defences.

What kind of anti-missile defences does the US possess?

The US has various anti-missile options in its arsenal, some designed to take down missiles at short-range and others for medium-to-long-range.

The US relies heavily on the US Patriot missile, also used by Israel and Saudi Arabia, and the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence (THAAD). The US deployed THAAD to South Korea this year to defend against medium-range missiles.

There is a three-phased defence system: ground-based missiles in place on the Korean peninsula; US naval ships stationed in the Pacific armed with anti-missile weaponry; and, as the line of last resort, two bases in Alaska and California that can launch an estimated 36 interceptors.

Is the US system robust enough to stop a North Korean missile attack?

No air defence system has been established that offers anything like a complete guarantee of success.

The Pentagon – and the manufacturers of missile defence systems – offer repeated assurances that air defence systems would be more than a match for any North Korean attack. But when missile defence systems have been put to the test over the last few decades, the performance has been far from reassuring.

The US provided anti-missile defence systems to Israel and Saudi Arabia during the First Gulf War as protection against Scud missiles fired by Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi troops.

The US system appeared to have clear superiority and it was initially claimed that it had shot down 41 of 42 missiles fired by Iraq. But the claim was later scaled back and eventually it was acknowledged that only a few missiles had been hit.

Recent tests of interceptors have provided little comfort – with success rates of around 50% on average.

The Pentagon celebrated in May when it destroyed a mock warhead over the Pacific. US vice-admiral Jim Syring, director of the Pentagon agency responsible for missile defence, described it as an “incredible achievement”.

But overall the performance has been spotty. Since the newest intercept system was introduced in 2004 and deemed to be combat ready, only four of nine intercept attempts have been successful. It is not a matter of malfunctions in the early days. Of the five tests since 2010, only two have been successful.

If the US hit a nuclear-tipped missile would there be a nuclear explosion?

Almost certainly not. The offensive missile would disintegrate on impact with the interceptor missile. A complicated sequence of events needs to take place to detonate a nuclear warhead.

Should we be worried?

Writing in 2015, Steven Pifer, an arms control expert at Washington’s Brookings Institution, asked a US official what would happen if a North Korean missile was launched in the direction of Seattle. The official said he would fire a bunch of interceptors and cross his fingers.

Since you’re here …

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

I appreciate there not being a paywall: it is more democratic for the media to be available for all and not a commodity to be purchased by a few. I’m happy to make a contribution so others with less means still have access to information.Thomasine F-R.

If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure.

(текст на русском языке)

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