When North Korea launched the missile on Sunday, the US Navy had two destroyers within the Sea of Japan with the flexibility to shoot it down, a US protection official stated.

The guided missile destroyers, USS Stethem and USS McCampbell, are outfitted with the Aegis ballistic missile protection system, which is ready to observe 100 missiles concurrently and hearth interceptors to take out an enemy’s ballistic projectiles.

“We labored in a short time with our Japanese and South Korean allies to ensure that it didn’t pose a risk to them both. As we preserve skills to have the ability to reply shortly and intercept missiles from North Korea in the event that they do pose a risk to us or our allies,” a Pentagon spokesman, US Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, stated.

Sunday’s North Korean launch concerned the first land-based test of an intermediate-range missile that, up to now, has been fired from a submarine, two US officers stated.

And since it was launched from a missile web site on North Korea’s west coast, it flew farther than any earlier North Korean exams, about 300 miles earlier than dropping into the Sea of Japan.

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A South Korean lawmaker’s workplace stated Tuesday the North Korean missile may have gone even farther.

“The missile was launched at 89 levels, and if it have been to be launched at regular angle, which is 45 levels, it may fly over 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles). This launch exhibits that North Korea’s missile know-how is consistently progressing,” stated a press release from the workplace of Lee Cheol-woo, who was briefed by South Korea’s Nationwide Intelligence Service.

US officers famous that the missile, the Pukguksong-2, used stable rocket gas, making it tougher to detect an imminent launch as a result of it requires much less fueling time on the launch pad.

However the Aegis system, which is within the arsenals of the US, Japan and South Korea, permits early detection of missile threats and supplies the flexibility to trace these missiles for interception later of their flights, in accordance with Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor behind the system.

“The Aegis system could be very succesful at monitoring and fascinating ballistic missile techniques,” stated Carl Schuster, a Hawaii Pacific College professor and former director of operations on the US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Heart.

Ballistic missiles use a excessive, arching trajectory to achieve their targets. Aegis, utilizing highly effective AN/SPY-1 radar on warships nearest the launch web site, picks up the missiles throughout their ascent section.

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These close by ships can hearth interceptors to strike the ballistic missile early in its flight, or ship monitoring knowledge to ships farther alongside the ballistic missile’s flight path, so it may be destroyed when it’s close to its highest level.

Aegis does have the flexibility to hyperlink knowledge between US, Japanese and South Korean warships, Schuster stated. But it surely has limitations, too.

Whereas the US system can work with both Japan or South Korea, the three can not work collectively as a result of there is no such thing as a one knowledge encryption system that works amongst them, Schuster stated.

And Bruce Bennett, senior protection analyst with the Rand Company, says the South Korean Aegis destroyers usually are not outfitted with the interceptors essential to take out enemy ballistic missiles.

Aegis can even work with different missile protection techniques — such because the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, which is to be deployed in South Korea this year, or the Patriot missile protection.

However these techniques have a extra restricted vary, elevating the significance of Aegis ships, the place they’re, and the way typically they’re deployed.

“I believe the US must place its Aegis ships in the suitable a part of the Sea of Japan to intercept a North Korean missile take a look at and that the US Navy has not been doing that frequently,” Bennett stated.

Whereas Aegis has been profitable in intercepting ballistic missiles throughout exams, it has not been used to take out one in fight.

In what some say is the system’s most noteworthy success, Aegis was used to destroy an inoperable spy satellite in 2008 when officers feared the satellite tv for pc may crash to Earth and doubtlessly launch a cloud of poisonous fuel.

The US Navy has 22 guided-missile cruisers and 62 guided-missile destroyers outfitted with the Aegis system. Japan has six Aegis destroyers with plans for extra. South Korea operates three Aegis-equipped destroyers.