US shoots down mock ICBM with interceptor rocket
WASHINGTON: The US military cheered a successful, first-ever missile defence test involving a simulated attack by a mock intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), in a major milestone for a programme meant to defend against a mounting North Korean threat.
The US military fired an ICBM-type missile from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands toward the waters just south of Alaska on Tuesday.
It then launched an interceptor rocket from an underground silo at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The interceptor hit and destroyed the missile.
Experts compared the test to hitting a bullet with another bullet, with the complexity magnified by the enormous distances involved.
The Missile Defence Agency said it was the first live-fire test against a simulated ICBM for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense, managed by Boeing Co, and hailed it as an "incredible accomplishment".
"This system is vitally important to the defence of our homeland, and this test demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat," Vice-Admiral Jim Syring, director of the agency, said in a statement.