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Missile-Defense Interceptor Hits Target After Flying From Vandenberg AFB

Tuesday's test aimed at collision with target weapon launched from Kwajalein Atoll

The contrail from a missile-defense interceptor lingers over Vandenberg Air Force Base on Tuesday afternoon. The missile successfully intercepted its mock target high above the Pacific Ocean, according to U.S. Air Force officials.
The contrail from a missile-defense interceptor lingers over Vandenberg Air Force Base on Tuesday afternoon. The missile successfully intercepted its mock target high above the Pacific Ocean, according to U.S. Air Force officials. (KEYT News photo)

[Scroll Down for Video of Launch]

A missile-defense interceptor blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Tuesday afternoon en route to a successful meet-up with a mock target for a test of the system designed to protect the United States from attacks.

The booster carrying the interceptor popped out of the silo on North Base at approximately 12:30 p.m., following the launch of the mock target minutes earlier from the Kwajalein Atoll some 4,200 miles southwest of the base.

The collision occurred high above the Pacific Ocean and was not visible from the Central Coast. 

Tuesday’s test involved the Missile Defense Agency's Ground-based Midcourse Defense Segment designed to protect the United States against attack by a rogue nation such as North Korea or Iran.

“The intercept of a complex, threat-representative ICBM target is an incredible accomplishment for the GMD system and a critical milestone for this program," said Navy Vice Adm. Jim Syring, MDA director. ”This system is vitally important to the defense of our homeland, and this test demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat."

This test, the first involving an intercontinental ballistic missile, has been planned for years. 

While the test met its primary objective, engineers will review performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the flights, MDA officials said.

MDA officials said previously that a successful test would clear the way for a salvo test involving two interceptors flying at the same time from Vandenberg. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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