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US missile defense plans are based on "technical myths" and interceptors have mostly failed to knock out incoming warheads in military tests, a new study argues.
Two American scientists reviewed 10 tests of the SM-3 "kill vehicle," designed to take out ballistic missiles, and concluded that the interceptor succeeded in directly hitting mock warheads in only one or two cases.
"This means that, in real combat, the warhead would have not been destroyed but would have continued toward the target and detonated in eight or nine of the 10 SM-3 experimental tests," wrote George Lewis of Cornell University and Theodore Postol of MIT in the latest issue of "Arms Control Today."
The Pentagon had described the tests between 2002 to 2009 as successful.