Vultures Row: USN on Standby Off NK Coast

USN on Standby Off NK Coast

It was a calm night on the Pacific, USS SHILO (CG-67) cut through the water at a stately speed. Inside of her the crew was at battle stations. On the bridge red lights were on to preserve night vision. Some of her young crew manned the sound powered phones while others were rechecking the medical bags they carried. Still others were stretching out the 1.5 inch fire hoses, and donning their OBAs. The Damage Control Teams all reported manned and ready. In the center of the ship in the Combat Information Center (CIC) they commanding officer was consulting with the weapons officer. They had just received information from a Japanese Destroyer which had been conducting electronic surveillance of a missile launch. The tin can was sending the telemetry data to SHILO. The information was fed in to the ships advanced electronic systems and the weapons officer confirmed that they had a firing solution. The CO nodded and ordered the launch. The SM-3 roared out of the Mk-41 VLS (vertical launch system) and into the night sky. It blasted straight up then leaned over into its flight path. The ship continued on her course, the smoke trail dissipating behind her. About six minutes later the Surface to air missile struck its target, a warhead more than 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean. Cheers erupted in the CIC and word spread throughout the ship within minutes that the intercept was a success.

The above paragraph reads like fiction but is in fact part of the eighth sea based missile defense system test designed to protect the United States from an incoming weapon of mass destruction. It was the seventh successful intercept of an inbound and makes the first time a foreign nation has participated in the exercises.

The test comes at a time when North Korea is reading a missile for launch which is believed capable of striking targets from Japan to Alaska, Hawaii and California.

Japan is very serious about the nature of the launch as North Korea has launched on that flew over their country a few years ago, proving they can strike Japan at any time. America and Japan have both stated they would take any test of this missile as a provocative act.

The US has stated that they Missile Defense System will be placed in operational status as a preventive measure before the launch. The 7 out of 8 intercepts prove that it is capable of handing a launch and that if North Korea, with an estimated seven nuclear warheads really should think twice about escalating the tensions over the North Korean nuclear policy.


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