US Tests Anti-missile Defence System
WASHINGTON: The United States successfully shot down an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) using its own upgraded long-range interceptor missile on Tuesday.
The Missile Defense Agency launched a ground-based interceptor from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to intercept a US-launched mock ICBM target over the Pacific Ocean, said US defence official.
The US Missile Defence Agency (MDA) said in a statement that the interceptor “destroyed the target in a direct collision.”
MDA Director Vice Adm. Jim Syring said “The intercept of a complex, threat-representative ICBM target is an incredible accomplishment … and a critical milestone for this program.”
“This system is vitally important to the defense of our homeland, and this test demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat,” he added.
The test comes just two days after Pyongyang fired a short-range ballistic missile that traveled an estimated 248 miles, splashing down within Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
The Pentagon insists the long-planned test of its ground-based interceptor system is not solely about North Korea, and the test is aimed at being able to challenge any threatening ICBM, including possibly from Iran in the future.
CNN reported that the test involves firing a new version of the military’s single long-range ground-based interceptor missile, which is currently based in Alaska and California.