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Missile defense shield test aced as dummy target hit

Story Highlights

• Dummy warhead shot down over Pacific in missile defense system test
• The interceptor missile was fired from Hawaii's Kauai Island
• First test since the equipment was moved from New Mexico in October
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KEKAHA, Hawaii (CNN) -- The Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency shot down a dummy target missile over the southern Pacific Ocean during a test of the U.S. missile defense shield early Saturday, according to an agency spokeswoman.

First, a dummy ballistic missile was fired from a U.S. mobile launch platform in the Pacific Ocean in a simulated attack.

Moments later, an interceptor missile was fired from the agency's missile range facility on Hawaii's Kauai Island and struck the dummy warhead over the Pacific Ocean, military footage showed.

The mobile, ground-based system is designed to protect the United States from short to intermediate-range high altitude ballistic missile attacks in the North American region, agency spokeswoman Pam Rogers said.

The system "intercepts missiles that are shorter range and at the end of their flight trajectory. It is part of the ballistic missile defense system, a layered system that is designed to intercept all types of missiles in all phases of flights," Rogers said.

This particular short to intermediate-range interceptor system has been tested four times a year since 2005.

"This was our first test since we moved equipment in October from the White Sands missile range in New Mexico ... everything went exceedingly well," Rogers said.

In September, the agency successfully tested its long-range ballistic missile interceptor system, which it said was the most realistic test since the tests started in 2001.

That interceptor system was designed to knock out missiles that could, for instance, be launched in a surprise strike from nations as far away as North Korea.

CNN's Leslie Wiggins contributed to this report.

An interceptor missile is successfully launched in June 2006.

An interceptor missile is launched in June 2006.



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