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U.S. Military Successfully Tests Missile Defense System

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The Missile Defense Agency's Flight Test 06b Ground-Based Interceptor launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., June 22, 2014. (Credit: Missile Defense Agency/U.S. Department of Defense)

The Missile Defense Agency’s Flight Test 06b Ground-Based Interceptor launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., June 22, 2014. (Credit: Missile Defense Agency/U.S. Department of Defense)

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WASHINGTON (CBS DC) –  The Military says it has used an interceptor missile to destroy a mock warhead high over the Pacific Ocean.

The missile was launched on Sunday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, reports Live Science.

It marks the first time in six years that the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system destroyed a test target.

“This is a very important step in our continuing efforts to improve and increase the reliability of our homeland ballistic missile defense system,” James D. Syring, Navy Vice Admiral and director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA).

Following the successful test, officials from the military and Boeing (who designed and built much of the system) expressed confidence that the existing system is capable of defending against such threats.

“Today’s test demonstrated the system’s performance under an expanded set of conditions that reflect real-world operational requirements,” Jim Chilton, vice president and general manager of Boeing Strategic Missile & Defense Systems.

The on-shore component of the missile defense system is designed to track and destroy enemy missiles in space, long before they reach the American mainland.

However, just because this test was successful, doesn’t mean future tests will be.

Each kill vehicle is handmade and contains over 1,000 component parts, which means that no two of these devices are the same.

And so minor differences between the prototype missiles could lead to failure in following tests.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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