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U.S. ‘Likely’ Could Intercept North Korean Missile

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Tony Capaccio
Friday, May 29, 2009

U.S. ground-based interceptor rockets would “likely” knock out a long-range North Korean missile before it could reach the American mainland, the Pentagon’s independent testing official said today.

“I believe we have a reasonable chance” of an intercept, Charles McQueary, director of operational test and evaluation, said in an interview as North Korea defied international condemnation of a nuclear test with another short-range missile launch.

“I’d put it ‘likely’ — than ‘highly likely’ — as opposed to putting it ‘unlikely,” he said on his last day in office after almost three years as the top weapons evaluator for the Defense Department.


McQueary’s office monitors and critiques the effectiveness of the nascent Boeing Co.-managed $35.5 billion ground-based system of what is now 28 interceptors placed since mid-2004 in silos at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

North Korea on April 4 attempted to launch a satellite on what some analysts said was a three-stage rocket capable of carrying a warhead that might reach the U.S. The reclusive regime has launched six short-range missiles this week that, while not able to strike the U.S., have refocused attention on American defenses.

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This article was posted: Saturday, May 30, 2009 at 5:47 am

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