U.S. missile defense test a success: ‘This is a very important step’

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Navy Vice Adm. James Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency, cheered the successful weekend ballistic missile interception of a target that was fired over the Pacific Ocean, calling the test a crucial step in the development of improved “homeland” defense.

“This is a very important step in our continuing efforts to improve and increase the reliability of our homeland ballistic missile defense system,” he said, CBS reported.

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His comments came shortly after the U.S. military successfully tested its Ballistic Missile Defense System over the Pacific, firing off a long-range interceptor from Vandenberg Air Force Base, CBS reported. The interceptor — which was shot just a few minutes after military officials launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile from the Kwajalein Atoll, also in the Pacific — hit the target and stopped its progress.

This marks the 65th successful intercept for the BMDS since 2011, but only the first one since 2008, Reuters said.

“The intercept will help validate the troubled Boeing-run Ground-based Midcourse Defense system which provides the sole U.S. defense against long-range ballistic missiles, and the Raytheon Co. kill vehicle that separates from the rocket and hits an incoming warhead,” Reuters wrote, summarizing expert statements.

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