Defense Department Successfully Intercepts Missile in Test

The footage chronicles the ground-based interceptor fired from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base as it meets a ballistic missile target launched from the Ronald Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

The Missile Defence Agency hailed the first ICBM live-fire test for the Ground-based Midcourse Defence system as an 'incredible accomplishment'.

At a time when tensions with North Korea are running high, a successful test was vital for the Defense Department's beleaguered missile defense program.

Syring said initial results from the test indicate that the interceptor and ICBM was "a direct hit, a complete obliteration", but added that his agency will analyze the data over the next 30 days.

The U.S. has 36 interceptors in Alaska and California now and could have 44 by year's end.

Monday's test, however, was of a short-range missile that fell into the Sea of Japan.

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The United States and China are negotiating when they should push for further United Nations Security Council action on North Korea and could reach a decision this week, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Tuesday. The military has been testing the interceptor system since 1999, but this is the first time it was tested on an intercontinental missile. Experts say that a combination of that "left of launch" sabotage, so called because it comes before or just as a missile launches, and "right of launch" interception of airborne missiles, the kind practiced on Tuesday, represent the best chance of protecting the United States. "In several ways, this test was a $244 million baby step, a baby step that took three years".

But while Syrling said that this sort of test should be able to defeat anything those countries have got until 2020, a much bigger threat will emerge when those countries are capable of firing salvos of multiple missiles at once.

As reported, the tests were announced by the Pentagon on Tuesday.

Tuesday's test would bring the GMD's success rate to 10 out of 18 tests, or 55 percent.

However, the program has taken on renewed significance in recent months, in the midst of North Korea's rapidly evolving nuclear and ballistic missile threats.

In the fiscal year 2018 budget proposal sent to Congress last week, the Pentagon requested $US7.9 billion for the Missile Defense Agency, including about $US1.5 billion for the GMD program. These include the Patriot missile, which numerous countries have purchased from the US, and the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, which the USA deployed this year to South Korea to defend against medium-range missiles from North Korea.

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