The Pentagon conducted a successful test Friday of a missile shield system designed to protect the United States against attack, spokesman Bryan Whitman said.
The test involved the interception of a long-range ballistic missile launched from Kodiak, Alaska, with a ground-based interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
An official said the target missile launched in Friday’s test would have countermeasures.
Officials said Thursday that this would be the most realistic of the 13 missile shield system tests conducted to date.
So far, the U.S. military has shot down a mock warhead in space with an interceptor missile in seven tests. The interceptor carries a “kill vehicle,” which is designed to destroy the target missile by crashing into it.
The Pentagon said this week that in Friday’s test, the target would be a mock warhead accompanied by “countermeasures similar to what Iran or North Korea could deploy,” according to a U.S. Missile Defense Agency official.
Critics have long complained that the from tests are not realistic because they don’t involve balloons or other decoys that, they argue, could easily fool the interceptor.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin listens during a nationally televised town-hall style session in Moscow on December 4, 2008. The US military on Friday successfully intercepted a long-range missile target in a “very realistic” simulated attack to test the proposed US missile defense system, the Defense Department said. Putin strongly opposes the missile defense plan, especially in Poland and the Czech Republic.(AFP/File/Alexey Druzhinin)
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The U.S. military conducted a successful test of its system built to knock out long-range missiles that could be fired by North Korea or Iran, the Pentagon said on Friday.
The target missile for the test over the Pacific was launched from Kodiak, Alaska and an interceptor was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, officials said. The intercept took place at 3:29 p.m. EST (2029 GMT).
Boeing Co is prime contractor for the system, called the ground-based midcourse defense.
(Reporting by David Morgan, Jim Wolf and Andrew Gray; Editing by Eric Walsh)