US successful at test missile defence system
Washington, Sep 2: The United States conducted a successful test of its land-based ballistic missile defence system which intercepted a missile.
Defence department officials said yesterday that the missile, launched from California, intercepted a target missile from Alaska 23 minutes after it was launched in outer space somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.
Pentagon's Missile Defence Agency Director Lieut Gen Henry Obering said the exercise exceeded all expectations. ''Basically, what we did today is a huge step in terms of our systematic approach to continuing to field, continuing to deploy and continuing to develop a missile defence system for the United States, for our allies, our friends, our deployed forces around the world,'' he said.
He, however, said his team had a more challenging test planned for later this year, in which the target missile would deploy decoys to try to confuse the interceptor. Even more sophisticated tests will follow.
He said the success of the test gives him confidence that the US would have a good chance of shooting down in incoming ballistic missile from a country like North Korea.
Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said, the rest raised the ''confidence in the approach to developing an initial missile defence capability'' against a long-range missile.
While pronouncing the yesterday's test a success, Rumsfeld said in a written statement that the test program is far from complete.
''Tests will continue, some of which will be successful and some will not,'' he said.
This was the 21st successful intercept using hit-to-kill technology since 2001, Obering said. ''We did intercept the re-entry vehicle and we did use the operational radar data to provide the initial track for that intercept,'' he added.