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HONOLULU – The latest U.S. missile defense test, conducted Thursday evening in Hawaii waters, was deemed a success as tensions continue with North Korea over that country's missile program.
A short-range ballistic missile was fired from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the island of Kauai and then was shot down by a three-stage interceptor missile from a destroyer, the USS Hopper.
The test, conducted by the Navy and the Department of Defense's Missile Defense Agency, marked the 23rd firing by ships equipped with the Aegis ballistic missile defense system. With the latest test, there have been 19 successes, including the shooting down of a dead U.S. spy satellite last year.
On July 4, North Korea violated U.N. Security Council resolutions by sending seven ballistic missiles into waters off its east coast. There had been speculation North Korea would launch a missile toward Hawaii — about 4,500 miles away — to coincide with the Independence Day holiday in the U.S.
Two other Navy ships participated in Thursday's test, dubbed "Stellar Avenger."
According to a Missile Defense Agency statement, the Hopper fired and guided an SM-3 Block IA missile that intercepted the target missile about 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean. Meanwhile, the USS O'Kane simulated an engagement and the USS Lake Erie detected and tracked the target, the agency said.
The statement said the Hopper's weapons system guided its missile to a "direct body to body hit, approximately two minutes after leaving the ship."
The Lake Erie used an advanced version of the Aegis system in a simulation to evaluate how it would function with a SM-3 Block IB missile. Next year, the ship is to use the system to fire a new SM-3 Block IB, which features an improved propulsion system, signal processor and warhead seeker.
I wonder if Democrats still want to cancel it, even though it's been repeatedly demonstrated to be effective and North Korea poses a clear threat with its ballistic missiles.
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