Missile Defense System Successfully Tested Over Pacific

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A sailor conducts maintenance on the Phalanx CIWS close-in weapon system aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Stout at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Va., on May 8, 2013, during the Department of Defense's tour deemed Navy 101. (credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

A sailor conducts maintenance on the Phalanx CIWS close-in weapon system aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Stout at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Va., on May 8, 2013, during the Department of Defense’s tour deemed Navy 101. (credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

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PACIFIC MISSILE RANGE FACILITY, Hawaii (AP) — The Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy sailors completed a successful test of a missile defense system by destroying a target launched Tuesday night over the Pacific Ocean.

A separating short-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai.

The USS Lake Erie detected and tracked the missile with an onboard radar. The ship, equipped with an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense weapon system, launched a block missile that released a kinetic warhead, which destroyed the target, the U.S. Department of Defense said.

“The kinetic warhead acquired the target re-entry vehicle, diverted into its path, and, using only the force of a direct impact, engaged and destroyed the target,” the department said in a news release.

Initial reports show the Aegis system worked as designed. Officials will evaluate data taken during the test.

The test involved the latest version of the second-generation Aegis system, which can handle engagement of longer-range and more sophisticated missiles. It was the third consecutive, successful intercept test of the Aegis BMD 4.0 Weapon System and the SM-3 Block IB guided missile. Previous successful intercepts took place on May 9, 2012 and June 26, 2012.

The defense system has successfully intercepted 25 of 31 missiles since tests began in 2002.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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