U.S. declares success in missile defense test

July 31, 2009 11:46 pm 

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 — The U.S. Missile Defense Agency said on Friday that it successfully tested a sea-based missile defense system on Thursday night.

A target missile was fired from Hawaii about 11:40 p.m. eastern time Thursday (11:40 a.m. in Manila, Friday) and was tracked by Navy ships hundreds of kilometers away, the agency said in a statement.

An Aegis-class U.S. naval ship then fired an interceptor missile, which struck the target about 160 km above the earth.

The process — from launch to shoot-down — took less than five minutes.

The United States plans to use the sea-based system on Aegis- class ships to protect against incoming short-to-medium-range missiles fired from hostile countries.

The test was the 19th successful test in 23 attempts of the Aegis sea-based missile defense system since 2002.

Another part of the missile defense protection — ground-based midcourse defense — is designed to strike at long-range missiles.

Over the past seven years, the U.S. military has spent billions of U.S. dollars on the missile defense program, with each test costing about 85 million dollars. (PNA/Xinhua) ALM

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