The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the Navy conducted a missile defense flight test over the Pacific, which successfully intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile, a MDA statement said on Wednesday.
It was reported that the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kaua'i launched the target missile late yesterday, Tuesday, Aug. 29.
The USS John Paul Jones, a guided-missile destroyer successfully launched an SM-6 interceptor missile to shoot down the target. "We will continue developing ballistic missile defense technologies to stay ahead of the threat as it evolves", MDA Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves said as quoted by the agency. A sailor on the USS John Paul Jones triggered a self-destruct sequence by mistake.
This exercise marked the seventh intercept test of the Aegis Baseline 9.1 (BMD 5.0CU) Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) tracking and engagement capabilities and the third successful SM-6 BMD intercept test using Baseline 9.1.More news: Champions League draw 2017: Group stage rules and preview
While Tokyo said the North Korean test was "an unprecedented, serious and grave threat" to the Japanese nation, Pyongyang described it as "a meaningful prelude to containing Guam Island", as well as "decisive countermeasures against joint military exercises", referring to the US base in Micronesia and the joint US-South Korea drills respectively.
The principal objective of the launch was test to a new targeting software created to enable the SM-6 to intercept a ballistic missile warhead descending from the upper atmosphere at extreme speed. President Donald Trump said "all options are on the table" in response to the test. That was the 15th intercept in 15 tests for the THAAD system, according to the MDA.
The test comes amid heightened tensions between North Korea and the US.
The U.S. has lost a few Aegis destroyers in recent months, hindering missile defense in a volatile region.