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Sea-Based Missile Defense Test Called A Success

Image of the Aegis system.

Washington (AFP) Nov 17, 2005
An interceptor missile fired from a US Navy cruiser shot down a mock warhead over the Pacific Thursday after it had separated from a medium-range missile the US military said.

It was the sixth successful intercept in seven attempts since the tests of the sea-based missile defense system began in 2002, the Missile Defense Agency said.

The sea-based system is designed to intercept short- and intermediate-range missiles with interceptor missiles fired from Aegis warships.

The United States is developing a separate ground-based system in Alaska and California to intercept long-range missiles.

Thursday's test was the first to intercept a target warhead that had separated from its launcher, a medium-range missile. In previous tests, the target was a Scud-like missile tipped with a mock warhead.

The warhead was launched atop the medium-range missile from a facility in Kauai, Hawaii at 1812 GMT, and four minutes later the USS Lake Erie, an Aegis cruiser, fired an SM-3 interceptor missile at it, the MDA said.

"Six minutes later the interceptor missile successfully intercepted the target warhead more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) in space above the Pacific Ocean and 375 miles (6-4 kilometers) northwest of Kauai," the MDA said.

It said the interceptor missile collided directly with the warhead, destroying it.

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