Are We Really Capable Of Shooting Down North Korean Missiles?

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog,

According to some analysts, Americans may be overly confident in our military’s ability to shoot down North Korean missiles if the country were to attempt to strike.

Maybe the reason we haven’t shot down North Korea’s test missiles is that we can’t. While we all certainly hope that our military would be able to successfully defend the country against incoming missiles, we need to be prepared for any possibility.

According to an article by Joe Cirincione of Defense One, the reason we don’t shoot down North Korea’s missiles when they fire them over Japan is because…

We don’t have the capability.

Joe Cirincione is the president of Ploughshares Fund and the author of several books about nuclear weapons, including Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late.

According to Cirincione, when Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, “We didn’t intercept it because no damage to Japanese territory was expected,” this was only partially true. It wasn’t a threat, but they didn’t have the capability to shoot it down due to the altitude.

Neither Japan nor the United States could have intercepted the missile. None of the theater ballistic missile defense weapons in existence can reach that high. It is hundreds of kilometers too high for the Aegis interceptors deployed on Navy ships off Japan. Even higher for the THAAD systems in South Korea and Guam. Way too high for the Patriot systems in Japan, which engage largely within the atmosphere.


All of these are basically designed to hit a missile in the post-mid-course or terminal phase, when it is on its way down, coming more or less straight at the defending system. Patriot is meant to protect relatively small areas such as ports or air bases; THAADdefends a larger area; the advanced Aegis system theoretically could defend thousands of square kilometers. (source)

Well, that’s unsettling. So, what if we engaged the missile before it reached that high?

Cirincione says that too is unlikely to be successful.

There is almost no chance of hitting a North Korean missile on its way up unless an Aegis ship was deployed very close to the launch point, perhaps in North Korean waters.


Even then, it would have to chase the missile, a race it is unlikely to win. In the only one or two minutes of warning time any system would have, the probability of a successful engagement drops close to zero. (source)

But don’t take Cirincione’s word for it. In his article, he cited other experts who echo his sentiments.  Jonathon McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, tweeted in response to someone questioning why we didn’t shoot down NK’s missiles:

As well, he quoted Jerry Doyle, deputy business editor for Asia at The New York Times:

“It’s actually virtually impossible to shoot down a missile on the way up. Midcourse or terminal are the only places you have a shot.” (source)

While I’m not sure how a business editor has special knowledge of our nuclear defense system, all of these sentiments certainly raise the question:


If we attempted to shoot down a North Korean missile and missed, it would be a major propaganda coup for Kim Jong Un.

When our military practiced this, they managed to shoot down 2 out of 3 missiles.

A lot of people are putting a great deal of hope in American missile defense systems, but it’s important to note that a couple of weeks ago in a test over the Pacific, our defense system failed. This was subsequent to a previous success.


A medium-range ballistic missile was launched from a test range in Hawaii at 7:20 pm local time, but the interceptor missile fired at sea from USS John Paul Jones, a guided-missile destroyer, missed the target.


“A planned intercept was not achieved,” the statement said. (source)


That’s disconcerting. After the failed test, there was a third test which was successful, but it’s very important to realize that our military isn’t infallible. If our rate is 2 out of 3 missiles shot down, that means that 1 out of 3 still gets through and wreaks destruction.

So, could we actually shoot down a missile “gift package” as Kim Jong Un creepily calls it?

The unsettling answer is, maybe.

Maybe, if we were expecting it, if the conditions were right, if we were close enough, if it was low enough, if we were in a perfect position.

There are way too many “ifs” in there for me to feel fully confident in our ability to shoot down North Korean missiles before they strike the mainland, which experts now believe they have the ability to reach. We also know that North Korea also possesses the ability to create hydrogen bombs. And as I’ve written before, if you believe this is all a big set up for a false flag event, that would hardly matter to those nearby if such a thing were to happen.

If you aren’t prepped for the potential of a nuclear strike, it’s time to start learning what you need to do. (This article and this class can help you.)

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MD's picture

We likely have zero capability to shoot down these missiles.

takeaction's picture

I don't think we want to try...Because

I think we are scared to try...

"If" we fail.......everything unravels.

TeamDepends's picture

Are these minority rockets, whose parents were once slave rockets?  If so they deserve leniency, if not repatriation.

philipat's picture

Does it really matter? NK has no intention of attacking, let alone invading, anyone. It just doesn't want to become the next Iraq or Libya and has, correctly, concluded that having a nuclear deterrent is the best way to prevent that. What theats has NK actually made against anyone? Testing missiles? The US does that all the time so why the hypocrisy? Who gave the US the right to develop and test missiles but not NK?

TeamDepends's picture

Well they did shoot one towards Guam, which could have sceered all the Guamians sending them scurrying to one side...... capsizing       Oh the humanity

Pliskin's picture

There's not too many 'Guamians' left there.  The Limeys and the Yankees showed up and 'there went the neighbourhood'.

ergatz's picture

There'll be NO WAR with N Korea.

The ONLY thing the US is really good at is setting the Middle East on fire for IsraHell.

evoila's picture

Who gives a rats ass. My bitcoin will be perfectly ready to protect me during an EMP attack.

beemasters's picture


“During the time that the airplane was coming into the Pentagon, there was a young man who would come in and say to the Vice President…the plane is 50 miles out…the plane is 30 miles out….and when it got down to the plane is 10 miles out, the young man also said to the vice president “do the orders still stand?” And the Vice President turned and whipped his neck around and said “Of course the orders still stand, have you heard anything to the contrary!??”

IF NK does indeed send their missiles, the Deep State will ensure they hit their targets. Just sayin'

TeamDepends's picture

Go Fuck Yourself

-Cheney's tombstone

Pliskin's picture

Here lies Dick Cheney.

Thank Fuck!

sinbad2's picture

That would be a known known.

gold-is-not-dead's picture

No one can shoot down ballistic projectile.

thebigunit's picture


NK has no intention of attacking, let alone invading, anyone.

You have no idea what NK's intentions are.  That's the problem.

NK's intentions are what Kim Jung Fatso says they are, whenever he decides to have an intention.

giovanni_f's picture

"You have no idea what NK's intentions are.  That's the problem."

That's not "the" problem. That's "your" (and your neocon friends') mental problem.

thebigunit's picture

Do you anti-neocons have some kind of secret handshake and a tatoo on your forehead of an upside down Jewish star so you KNOW who all the anti-neo-cons are?

That's not "the" problem. That's "your" (and your neocon friends') mental problem. 

As far as I can tell, the anti-necocons seem to think that there are only about twenty REALLY PURE anti-neocons on the planet and everyone  else (7 billion people) is a secret neocon or an unwitting neocon stooge.

SmackDaddy's picture

You know what poses a greater risk to my family than NK? Feral North American Pavement Apes.

Archibald Buttle's picture

not to mention the vast majority of the employees of the government that supposedly "serve" us. don't miss the forest because of one tree.

sebmurray's picture

Pavement apes, thats worth a couple of upvotes

gaoptimize's picture

We can, but do we want to?  A hydrogen bomb going off is a relatively clean burn.  A plutonium core landing somewhere and being exposed to air is another matter.  I think the Japanese would ask us to be careful.

garcam123's picture

These old sorry fucks couldn't fucking shoot in the fuckin sink!  You think that akive dead cocksucker could fuckin shoot.  That motherfucker....all he has is his Lindsey dick suckin fruckin last Hurrah!  Fuck you motherfucker....just do the fucking world a favor and die motherfucker....while your bullshittin...TODAY, you piece of criminal shit! And while we're running news highights, fuck all of you nitwit motherfucfkers who think your're a deep thinker.....they got their dick sideways up your fuckin stupid ASS and your hopen they don't break it off......look DOWN THERE ASSHOLE THAT BIG CRACK IN THE COCK THAT IS UP YOUR BROKE ASS.....SEE...WHAT YOU GET for sucking the terriostists little cock........fuck you and die motherfucker! by your thousands.  You are shit and deserve to be groiund into pig feed!

Pliskin's picture

^^^^^^^ Can I get one of whatever he's having, please? ^^^^^^^

HedgeJunkie's picture

^^^I'll have a double, please.^^^

Archibald Buttle's picture

^^^i second both motions^^^


and i gotta give the dude an upvote for the best rant in a while. i have a soft spot for the incoherent variety, sometimes it almost seems like avant-garde poetry.

07564111's picture

everythings unraveling every where ;)

LoL (((( Things I don't see yet at ZH )))) LoL

Syrian Democratic Forces Capture Key Oil Fields In Deir Ezzor

Russia warns US it will strike back if militia attacks in Syria don’t end

Russian Special Forces Repel a US-planned Attack In Syria, Denounce the USA and Issue a Stark Warning

Freddie's picture

Yes.  USA and Russia almost got into a shooting war yesterday.  It may have been a trap by Russia.  The USA head choppers under IIS/NUSRA/SDF tried to kidnap 40 (?) Russian MP peace keepers who may have been very tough Chechens.  Well the Russians knew or quickly found out and sent in Spaetntz plus Russian air power which wiped out 800 USA-backed head choppers and destroyed a number of tanks.   Russia was not happy.

This is all over including on Saker's web site.  Apparently, it was a battle of USA Spec ops/SOF versus Russians.  It appears the Russians may have known in advance.  Could be from signal intercepts, satellite, drones or even Syrian eyes on the ground or Russian eyes on the ground.  ISIS/NUSRA/SDF and the Kurds must be starting to think it is game over.

WW3 almost started.  Putin and the Russians do not want this.  Putin tried to mend fences but Trump is under control of Deep State.  It looks like China is rubbing the USA's face in it with US Navy spoofing/ECM or something that made ships crash and China egging on NK.  China wants to see if USA has anything to shoot down NK missiles.  China wants to control Asia and the Pacific.  China appear to be making their moves. 

myne's picture

Shooting a bullet with another bullet.

Practically impossible.

Hence the big investments in laser and rail guns which are at least capable of theoretically catching up with a rocket. 

tyberious's picture

The best advice is to leave your crazy neighbors alone, say hello if they talk, but otherwise if they fuck with you torch the fucking place!

Abbie Normal's picture

Cruise missiles can be easily shot down, as the Russians did to many of the 59 US ones over Syria.  ICBMs terminal velocity is over 12000 mph, or 20X faster than a cruise missile; a bullet hitting another bullet is child's play compared to that.

Last Man Standing's picture

In May the U.S. intecepted an ICBM in mid-course (while in space) with a direct hit kill vehicle. So it is not Impossible. They seem to hit, using other missile 2 out of 3 times, so while not perfect it is improving. Had the money been spent to perfect it during the past 24 years it would be working today. 

Secret Weapon's picture

The only reason that they were able to intercept was because they had coordinates and trajectory and launch time programed ahead of time. 

NEOCON1's picture

Read what you want from loser sources. ZERO HEDGE is a joke like the anti-Semite faggots that post.

HopefulCynic's picture

Yay!!! this loser got something partially right, I am not a joke, because I am an ant-semite MACHO.

land_of_the_few's picture

You're probably one of those posters, how much EUR do you get per post by the way?

Isn't it illegal using taxpayer money to post (fake) hatespeech?

garcam123's picture

These sorry fucks couldn't hit the fuckin target on the playboy pic.....even with lotssa "practice"!  Bunch of pussy fucks!

Archibald Buttle's picture

only two minutes and that good stuff is wearing off?

HRClinton's picture

All these "shoot-down" scenarios presume a launch from NK.

Why TF would anyone with an IQ > 100, assume that?

You know what they say, when you AssUMe?  :-)

(If I were the Norks, I'd perfect the capability of launching from fishing boats, subs and shipping containers. Perhaps they can hire Israel, to help them with these "Sampson Options"?)

kellys_eye's picture

The NK have currently managed to launch a rocket only one third of the distance to reach the USA mainland.  And even that is speculative of whether or not it can carry a warhead.... that works.

There is no 'threat' to the US.  There is 'opportunity' for the US MIC though..... providing they don't manage to escalate the situation globally - or maybe that's their plan anyway?

MasterControl's picture

Lots of DPRK fans here.

wisehiney's picture

I wish Ronnie RayGun was still around.

ebworthen's picture

It doesn't matter if we take out the Cult Fountainhead of Kim with tactical nukes.

07564111's picture


There's more chance of u intercepting a missile than u launching at DPRK.

HRClinton's picture

Eb, the Norks will just send out a few shipping containers, for the USN to run into.


Freddie's picture

One problem is Seoul is right on the border of NK.  10.3 million SK in Seoul and 25 million probably in the Seoul metro and outskirts.

30 million dead innocent people.   Others think China is egging NK on to see what the USA will do.

Sadly the monsters in contol of America have boxed in the USA.  The petrodollar is dying.

Archibald Buttle's picture

i gotta add a new bottle tomorrow to the death shelf. up until now i had been thinking only in terms of people. one of those 750ml bottles of unibroue's fin du monde ought to serve nicely once it's time to "celebrate the life" of the petrodollar.

Schmuck Raker's picture

And if we can, should we?

Nothing gets people behind a good-ol-fashion-war faster than getting bombed!

The only thing worse than letting a perfectly good crisis go to waste, is avoiding one in the first place. Right Rahm?

Secret Weapon's picture

This whole NK thing feels like a setup for the next false flag.

Secret Weapon's picture

This whole NK thing feels like a setup for the next false flag.