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Once a Nuclear Missile Is Launched, Can It Be Stopped In The Air?

When I was growing up in England in the 1970’s and though the 1980’s in particular, there was an almost palpable fear that a nuclear exchange could break out between the superpowers at almost any time.

image credit: gamespot

It caused me and many others around at the time to wonder was there a way to stop a missile attack but to be honest there was very little you could do. If you lived in a big city or near a military base, there was nothing to stop an ICBM or Intercontinental Ballistic missile once it was on its way and with the 4 minute warning we would have in the UK, you might as well have one last game of missile command and hope for a quick end.

Roll on 35+ years and although we now live in a time of where the threat from nuclear attack is much less, it’s still present, even if it may have moved to a different area of the globe.So, with the advancement of technology, can we stop a missile attack now, once it’s been launched.


Lasers-armed drones and interceptor missiles are possible tech options for impeding a nuclear strike.Beyond that, there are other problems with the “launch-phase” approach. If the interceptor doesn’t hit exactly the right spot on the missile, the missile “may not quite make the target it was intended.

It will fall somewhere else, you really have to be explicit and target the payload at the tip of the missile.”Using unmanned aerial vehicles has also been as an option, but they lack the firepower to destroy a missile, she added.The second option, and the most viable one, is to intercept the missile during its longest flight course — in space.