New York [USA]: The United States and Japan have passed a crucial missile defence test, shooting down a medium-range ballistic missile with a new interceptor launched from a guided-missile destroyer.
The U.S. Missile Defence Agency announced that the ‘USS John Paul Jones’ detected, tracked and took out the target ballistic missile using its onboard Aegis Missile Defense System and a Standard Missile-3 Block IIA interceptor, reports the CNN.
The test took place on Friday night off the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
“Today’s test demonstrates a critical milestone in the cooperative development of the SM-3 Block IIA missile. The missile, developed jointly by a Japanese and US government and industry team, is vitally important to both our nations and will ultimately improve our ability to defend against increasing ballistic missile threats,” the director of the Missile Defense Agency, Vice Adm. Jim Syring said in a statement.
The test came while U.S. Defence Secretary James Mattis was on his first overseas trip to South Korea and Japan.
Ballistic missile defence was at the top of the agenda after North Korea’s prolific testing of short- and intermediate-range missiles last year.
Washington is also worried that North Korea may be developing a long-range missile that could carry a nuclear warhead to reach as far as the U.S. shores.
The Aegis system is designed to intercept ballistic missile around the middle of their flight, when the missile is at its highest point above the Earth.
The system is based on the powerful AN/SPY-1 radar, which can track 100 missiles simultaneously.
The U.S. Navy has 22 guided-missile cruisers and 62 guided-missile destroyers equipped with the Aegis system. Japan has six Aegis destroyers with plans for more. (ANI)