The U.S. military said Tuesday it has successfully shot down a simulated intermediate-range ballistic missile in a new test of its advanced missile defense system amid heightened tensions with North Korea.
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense has thus hit its target in all 14 intercept attempts since testing began more than a decade ago, the Missile Defense Agency said.
“The successful demonstration of THAAD against an IRBM-range missile threat bolsters the country’s defensive capability against developing missile threats in North Korea and other countries,” it said in a statement.
The latest test came after Pyongyang’s first test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4, though it was planned months ago.
In the test, a THAAD system in Kodiak, Alaska, intercepted a ballistic missile target that was fired from a C-17 aircraft flying north of Hawaii, the agency said.
The U.S. military has deployed a THAAD system in South Korea’s Seongju County, about 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, despite opposition from local residents.
The ground-based system is intended to deter North Korea’s provocations, but China has criticized it, saying it could alter the regional security balance.
The U.S. military has been stepping up efforts to strengthen its missile defense capabilities. In May, it successfully shot down a mock ICBM for the first time.
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