Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Boeing and the Ground-based Midcourse Defense team on Tuesday announced that they have installed the 44th interceptor, the last installation of 2017 for the ground-based surface-to-air anti-ballistic missile defense system.
The Department of Defense set out to increase America's long-range defense ballistic missiles to 44 interceptors by the end of 2017, with Boeing meeting the goal ahead of schedule. The company has been the system's prime contractor since 2001.
"The ballistic missile threat that our partners in the Missile Defense Agency are defending this country from requires always-ready capabilities," Norm Tew, Boeing vice president and GMD program director, said in a news release. "As the system architect for nearly two decades, Boeing continues to deliver through our expertise in developing, testing and fielding progressively advanced solutions for this vital mission."
Boeing says their latest interceptor includes features demonstrated in the successful intercontinental ballistic missile intercept test conducted in May.
The interceptor is launched from a ground-based silo after receiving detection and tracking information from land, sea, and space-based sensors, in order to destroy incoming ballistic missile threats.
The GMD system includes command-and-control facilities, communications terminals and a 20,000-mile fiber-optic communications network that interfaces with ballistic missile defense radars and other sensors, according to Boeing.
The announcement from Boeing comes on the same day as President Donald J. Trump delivered his first major speech in Asia to the South Korean National Assembly in Seoul, which included a direct warning to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that nuclear provocation could result in devastating consequences for the communist nation.
"The weapons you are acquiring are not making you safer, they are putting your regime in grave danger," Trump said. "Every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face."
"That would be a fatal miscalculation," Trump said of North Korean threats to strike the United States and its allies. "This a very different administration than the United States has had in the past. Do not underestimate us. And do not try us."