The following is an excerpt from ELIZABETH MCLAUGHLIN LUIS MARTINEZ | May 30, 2017 | abcnews.go.com |
The U.S. has "successfully intercepted" an intercontinental ballistic missile during the first test of its ground-based intercept system, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said Tuesday.
The test occurred just days after the North Korean regime launched its ninth missile this year. U.S. officials say today's test had been planned for years.
The ground-based interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California shortly after 3:30 p.m. ET. A little more than one hour later, the Pentagon confirmed that it had successfully collided with an ICBM-class target over the Pacific Ocean.
The ICBM-target was launched from the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, 4,200 miles away.
"The intercept of a complex, threat-representative ICBM target is an incredible accomplishment for the GMD [Ground-based Missile Defense] system and a critical milestone for this program," said Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Adm. Jim Syring. "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. I am incredibly proud of the warfighters who executed this test and who operate this system every day."
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