Pentagon: Interceptor Missile Fired From Vandenberg AFB Succesfully Shoots Down Mock Warhead

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The US has for the first time successfully tested its defence system against an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), say officials.

In the next test, the USA armed forces say they plan to use an ICBM model that looks like a genuine long-range missile developed by North Korea.

The US armed forces announced that its interceptor rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California struck the warhead which was sacked from a US site in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. "The intercept of a complex threat-representative ICBM target is an incredible accomplishment", Vice Admiral Jim Syring of the Missile Defense Agency said. Still, the test is a step towards demonstrating the system is capable of protecting the United States against a small-scale ICBM attack - like one that North Korea could one day be capable of launching. A missile was sacked from Kwajalein Atoll and then intercepted by a rocket launched from a base in California. The last one, in June 2014, was the first success since 2008.

Early this month, it test-fired what appeared to be its longest-range ballistic missile yet tested in a bid to bring the USA mainland within reach.

"They've [North Korea] conducted an unprecedented level of nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches in the previous year, including their 4th and 5th nuclear tests, as well as its short-range, medium-range, intermediate-range, long-range and submarine-launched ballistic missiles", Davis said. The missile defense shield also has a spotty record, achieving only ten successful intercepts in 18 tries, after accounting for the latest test.

One of the Senate's top missile defense boosters is applauding Tuesday's successful intercept test for sending a "clear message" to North Korea's "unstable dictator".

She said it was time to say, "OK, what are we going to do if this is going to happen every other day?"

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North Korea launched a ballistic missile on Monday and claimed it flew 248 miles.

The test conducted by troops of the 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg Air Force Base cost $244 million.

"A release and video are expected from the Missile Defense Agency".

The test was a major challenge because an intercontinental ballistic missile flies faster than a shorter-range missile.

Concern among the worldwide community over the North's weapons programme was further raised after North Korea test-fired yet another ballistic missile, the latest in a series of launches that have ratcheted up tensions over Pyongyang's quest to develop weapons capable of hitting the United States.

The US' missile was part of its Ground-based Midcourse Defence system.

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