Current counter-ICBM systems
There are only three systems in the world that can intercept ICBMs. Besides them, some smaller systems exist (tactical ABMs), that generally cannot intercept intercontinental strategic missiles, even if within range—an incoming ICBM simply moves too fast for these systems.
- The Russian A-135 anti-ballistic missile system is used for the defense of Moscow. It became operational in 1995 and was preceded by the A-35 anti-ballistic missile system. The system uses Gorgon and Gazelle missiles with nuclear warheads to intercept incoming ICBMs.
- The U.S. Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System (GMD), formerly known as National Missile Defense (NMD), was first tested in 1997 and had its first successful intercept test in 1999. Instead of using an explosive charge, it launches a hit-to-kill kinetic projectile to intercept an ICBM. The current GMD system is intended to shield the United States mainland against a limited nuclear attack by a rogue state such as North Korea. GMD does not have the ability to protect against an all-out nuclear attack from Russia, as there are currently 44 ground-based interceptors deployed against crossing projectiles headed toward the homeland. (This does not include the THAAD, or Aegis, or Patriot defenses against directly incoming projectiles.)
- The Israeli Arrow 3 system entered operational service in 2017. It is designed for exo-atmosphere interception of ballistic missiles during the spaceflight portion of their trajectory, including those of ICBMs. It may also act as an anti-satellite weapon.
American plans for Central European site
During 1993, a symposium was held by western European nations to discuss potential future ballistic missile defence programs. In the end, the council recommended deployment of early warning and surveillance systems as well as regionally controlled defence systems. During spring 2006 reports about negotiations between the United States and Poland as well as the Czech Republic were published. The plans propose the installation of a latest generation ABM system with a radar site in the Czech Republic and the launch site in Poland. The system was announced to be aimed against ICBMs from Iran and North Korea. This caused harsh comments by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) security conference during spring 2007 in Munich. Other European ministers commented that any change of strategic weapons should be negotiated on NATO level and not 'unilaterally' [sic, actually bilaterally] between the U.S. and other states (although most strategic arms reduction treaties were between the Soviet Union and U.S., not NATO). German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed severe concerns about the way in which the U.S. had conveyed its plans to its European partners and criticised the U.S. administration for not having consulted Russia prior to announcing its endeavours to deploy a new missile defence system in Central Europe. As of July 2007, a majority of Poles were opposed to hosting a component of the system in Poland. By 28 July 2016 Missile Defense Agency planning and agreements had clarified enough to give more details about the Aegis Ashore sites in Romania (2014) and Poland (2018).