US military intercepts missile in defence test

Washington, Sep 19 (IANS) The US military said Wednesday it successfully intercepted a short-range ballistic missile target during a missile defence test over the Pacific Ocean.

The Department of Defense said in a statement it's "an operationally realistic test, in which the target's launch time and bearing are not known in advance, and the target complex was the most difficult target engaged to date", reported Xinhua.

The short-range missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii, at approximately 8.30 p.m. Wednesday, the Pentagon said. The target flew northwest towards a broad ocean area of the Pacific Ocean.

Following target launch, the USS Lake Erie, equipped with the second-generation Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) weapon system, detected and tracked the missile with its onboard radar, then launched two missiles to engage the target.

The first of the two missiles successfully intercepted the target warhead. This was the "first salvo mission" of two SM-3 Block IB guided missiles launched simultaneously against a single target, the Pentagon said.

"This test exercised the latest version of the second-generation Aegis BMD Weapon System, capable of engaging longer range and more sophisticated ballistic missiles," it said.

Aegis BMD is the naval component of the US Missile Defense Agency's Ballistic Missile Defense System. The flight test is the 27th successful intercept in 33 attempts for the Aegis BMD programme since flight testing began in 2002. Across all Ballistic Missile Defense System programs, this is the 63rd successful hit-to-kill intercept in 79 flight test attempts since 2001.

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