US Tests Ballistic Missile Defence System Off Hawai Coast

REUTERS

The Standard Missile-6, built by major United States defense contracter Raytheon, intercepted the missile target at sea in its final seconds of flight after being fired from the USS John Paul Jones.

The test came two days after North Korea fired a intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan, further escalating tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

North Korea's most recent missile test early Tuesday local time prompted the Japanese government to tell residents to take cover.

Those aboard the USS John Paul Jones detected and tracked the target missile using onboard radar equipment and used an interceptor missile to bring it down.

Mike Campisi, SM-6 senior program director at Raytheon, said the company analyzed, coded and tested the system within seven months in response to the military's request for an updated missile that can help address medium-range ballistic missile threats.

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A U.S. official, however, told CNN the test had been planned for a long time and before North Korea's latest provocation. The missile travelled over the northern island of Hokkaido and landed in the sea.

Raytheon has upgraded the SM-6 to also hit surface targets and, most recently, to hit ballistic missiles in their final seconds of flight.

In May, the US, in the first test of its ground-based intercept system at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, intercepted an intercontinental ballistic missile launched from the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, which is 4,200 miles away.

He said the agency will continue to develop defense technologies to stay ahead of the threat as it evolves.

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