Japan shoots down missile in test off Hawaii: US
Washington (AFP) Oct 28, 2009
Japanese naval forces successfully shot down a medium-range missile off Hawaii in a test of Tokyo's missile defense weaponry, the US military said on Wednesday.
A Japanese destroyer detected, tracked and knocked out the missile in mid-flight with an SM-3 interceptor rocket, the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said in a statement.
The missile was launched on Tuesday at 6:00 pm Hawaii time (0400 GMT) at a missile range site off Kauai in Hawaii and at 6:04, an SM-3 interceptor was fired in response, the MDA said.
"Approximately three minutes later, the SM-3 successfully intercepted the target approximately 100 miles (160 kilometers) above the Pacific Ocean," it said.
The test, carried out in cooperation with the US Navy and the MDA, marked the third time Japanese Self-Defense forces had successfully knocked out a ballistic missile in a test.
The Japanese ship in the exercise is equipped with the Aegis radar system, which tracks the incoming missile and directs the interceptor to the target. The destroyer will be loaded with additional SM-3 interceptors before heading back to Japan, the statement said.
Japan has sought to bolster its missile defenses in the face of the threat posed by North Korea's missile and nuclear programs.
US President Barack Obama's administration has announced plans to build a missile defense shield in Europe using the SM-3 interceptors and the Aegis radar system.
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