Pentagon scraps Fort Greely missile defense plan

A ground-based interceptor missile sits inside an underground silo at the Missile Defense Complex on Fort Greely, Alaska, Aug. 23, 2017.

A ground-based interceptor missile sits inside an underground silo at the missile defense complex on Fort Greely, Alaska, Aug. 23, 2017. (Public domain photo by Capt. Jennifer Beyrle/U.S. Army)

The Pentagon is canceling a project to improve its ground-based missile interceptors, most of which are housed at Fort Greely in the Interior of Alaska.

The Associated Press reports the U.S. Department of Defense is canceling its contract with Boeing to design a better “kill vehicle.” Boeing has been on pause since May while the Pentagon reviewed the program.

Fort Greely has 40 interceptors, and Congress has funded 20 more for the base. It’s unclear if those will be delivered, or what will arrive in their place.

The interceptors are intended to knock out incoming enemy missiles in midcourse. The system has been likened to hitting a bullet with a bullet. Critics have complained the system is too expensive and has performed poorly in tests.

While the Pentagon is abandoning its efforts to improve the kill vehicle, it’s interested in starting over. It says it will pursue a “next-generation interceptor.”

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee and has been a big champion of the missile defense system, was in Unalaska Wednesday and could not be reached. His office issued a statement saying he’s concerned and intends to dig into the details behind the decision.

Recent missile launch alerts direct Fort Greely residents, workers to take shelter

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