New Missile Defense System Has Successful Test Over Pacific

Associated Press
Sunday, April 8, 2007; A02

HONOLULU -- The U.S. military shot down a Scud-type missile in this year's second successful test of a new technology meant to knock down ballistic missiles in their final minute of flight, the Missile Defense Agency said Friday.

A ship off Kauai fired a target missile, and three minutes later, soldiers with the U.S. Army's 6th Air Defense Artillery Brigade launched an interceptor missile from Kauai that destroyed the target over the Pacific, according to the agency.

The military says it already can shoot down missiles in their last stage of flight by using Patriot anti-missile batteries.

But the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system would be able to protect larger areas than the Patriot system because it intercepts targets at a higher altitude, said agency spokeswoman Pam Rogers.

The new system had its first successful test last year at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. It had another successful test Jan. 27 at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai.

In a September test at White Sands, the target missile failed after launch.

The Missile Defense Agency moved its testing for the defense system to Hawaii because the New Mexico range is not large enough for the testing that the military wants, Rogers said.

The military also uses the Pacific Missile Range Facility to test Aegis technology, which is designed to shoot down ballistic missiles midway through their flight.

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