(CNN)North Korea’s test of a ballistic missile this week showed new, more dangerous capabilities in its missile program, but the Pentagon says the US and its Asian allies have defenses to deal with threat.
When North Korea launched the missile on Sunday, the US Navy had two destroyers in the Sea of Japan with the ability to shoot it down, a US defense official said.
The guided missile destroyers, USS Stethem and USS McCampbell, are equipped with the Aegis ballistic missile defense system, which is able to track 100 missiles simultaneously and fire interceptors to take out an enemy’s ballistic projectiles.
While Aegis has been successful in intercepting ballistic missiles during tests, it has not been used to take out one in combat.
In what some say is the system’s most noteworthy success, Aegis was used to destroy an inoperable spy satellite in 2008
when officials feared the satellite could crash to Earth and potentially release a cloud of toxic gas.
The US Navy has 22 guided-missile cruisers and 62 guided-missile destroyers equipped with the Aegis system. Japan has six Aegis destroyers with plans for more. South Korea operates three Aegis-equipped destroyers.
Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/14/politics/us-north-korea-aegis-ballistic-missile-defense/index.html