N. Korean Missiles Apparently Made to Evade Interception
Tokyo, Sept. 16 (Jiji Press)--Ballistic missiles fired by North Korea into the Sea of Japan on Wednesday flew at low altitudes and on irregular trajectories as the country apparently tried to make their interception difficult.
"It's clear that the missiles were designed to evade missile defense systems of Japan and the United States," a senior official of Japan's Defense Ministry said.
The missiles are estimated to have fallen within Japan's exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan, at points north of the island of Hegurajima off the Noto Peninsula in central Japan, after flying at a maximum altitude of 50 kilometers. It is believed be difficult to shoot down a missile flying low and on an irregular trajectory. A conventional ballistic missile flies high and takes a parabolic flight path.
At a press conference Wednesday, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi implied how difficult it is to track a missile flying at a low altitude and on an irregular route. The missiles launched Wednesday were initially believed to have fallen into waters outside the Japanese EEZ after Japan, the United States and South Korea calculated their trajectories based on data right after the firing.
Japan's two-stage missile defense system consists of Standard Missile-3, or SM-3, interceptors mounted on Self-Defense Forces Aegis destroyers and the Patriot Advanced Capability-3, or PAC-3, ground-based missile defense system. The Aegis system detects a missile, calculates its trajectory and intercepts it while PAC-3 is used to shoot down a missile that escaped the SM-3 defense.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]