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Pentagon declares success for key test of missile defense
14 June 2017, 07:43 | Ruben Thornton
US military said it had intercepted a mock-up of an ICBM in a first-of-its-kind test
Meanwhile the Pentagon will today for the first time test its ability to shoot down an intercontinental ballistic missile using its own upgraded long-range interceptor missile in what is being widely seen as a test of USA ability to counter the North Korean missile launch.
The test "demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat", said Vice Adm. James D. Syring, the director of the Pentagon'sMissile Defense Agency, calling the test a "critical milestone for this program".
In a statement, Davis said the test was not timed due to recent actions by North Korea, but that the country is one of the reasons the U.S.is testing the system's capability.
It added that the system "demonstrates a limited capability to defend the US homeland from small numbers of simple intermediate-range or intercontinental ballistic missile threats launched from North Korea or Iran".
The target was a custom-made missile meant to simulate an ICBM, meaning it flew faster than missiles used in previous intercept tests, according to Christopher Johnson, the Missile Defense Agency's spokesman.
It's the latest in a string of test launches by North Korea as it seeks to build nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach the US mainland, a drive that puts North Korea high on the list of foreign policy worries for Japan, Washington and Seoul.
The test was planned amid what are regarded as provocations by North Korea, which, as of last week, has carried out three missile tests in three weeks.
It landed in Japan's exclusive maritime economic zone, which is set about 200 nautical miles off the Japanese coast, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.
Such launches, and two nuclear tests since January 2016, have been conducted in defiance of United Nations resolutions and the threat of more sanctions.
North Korea has dramatically ramped up the pace of its missile tests over the past year, with a goal of developing an ICBM that can strike the us mainland.
North Korea, however, already has a strong arsenal of reliable short-range missiles. The problems prompted the Pentagon's top weapons tester, the Directorate of Operational Test and Evaluation, to assess a year ago that the ground-based mid-course system had demonstrated only limited ability to defend the country in part due to its low reliability.
North Korea tested the Pukguksong-2 (KN-15) on May 21, marking the second successful test of a solid-fueled weapons system first tested in February.
"North Korea appears to have modified its Scud missiles". "This system is among our industry's most complex, and its advancement ensures the protection of the US and its allies".
The ground-based interceptor system is mainly created to counter a North Korean missile threat, but a USA official said Tuesday's test has been planned for years and is coincidental to North Korea's increased missile testing this year.
All three of the missiles were presented in a military parade marking the Day of the Sun, the 105th anniversary of the birth of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, on April 15.
By the time the 2014 test rolled around, MDA officials were seriously questioning what needed to be done to fix the system - one option was to abandon the upgraded version of the GBI struggling in tests and move on down a more aggressive path to redesign the kill vehicle.
Kim said the reclusive state would develop more powerful weapons in multiple phases in accordance with its timetable to defend North Korea against the United States.
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