The US military conducted a successful test of its missile defense system on Friday, the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency announced.
The ground-based interceptor missile was launched from the Ronald W. Reagan Missile Defense Site at the Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, against a threat-representative target missile fired from the Kodiak Launch Complex, Kodiak, Alaska, the agency said in a statement.
The test was designed to evaluate the performance of several elements of the Ballistic Missile Defense System, and mission objectives included demonstrating the ability of the Upgraded Early Warning Radar at Beale Air Force Base, California, to acquire, track and report the target warhead, it said.
The exercise was also aimed at assessing the performance of the interceptor missile's rocket motor system and exoatmospheric kill vehicle, which was designed to collide directly with a target warhead in space to "hit to kill" the target warhead using only the force of the collision.
The flight test results would help to further improve and refine the performance of numerous Ground-based Midcourse Defense elements, said Air Force Lieutenant General Henry "Trey" Obering III, director of the agency.
The ground-based midcourse defense system currently has interceptor missiles deployed at Fort Greely, Alaska, and at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and includes such components as an upgraded Cobra Dane radar in the Aleutian Island chain of Alaska, an upgraded early warning radar at Beale Air Force Base, California, and a forward deployed air-transportable X-band radar in Japan.
The test was originally scheduled for Thursday, but was postponed by one day because of fog in Alaska.
(Xinhua News Agency September 2, 2006)