U.S. Missile Defense Intercept Test Called Successful

A ground-based missile successfully intercepted a target missile Friday in a test of the nation's defense system, the Missile Defense Agency said.

An intercontinental ballistic missile interceptor blasted out of an underground silo at Vandenberg Air Force Base shortly after 1:15p.m., and tracked a target missile that had lifted off from the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska.

"As the interceptor flew toward the target, it received target data updates from the upgraded missile-warning radar at Beale Air Force Base, Calif. After flying into space, the interceptor released its exoatmospheric kill vehicle, which proceeded to track, intercept and destroy the target warhead," the Boeing Co. said in a statement.

Boeing is the prime contractor for what is formally known as the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system.

The Missile Defense Agency said initial results show the interceptor's rocket motor system and kill vehicle performed as planned.

The MDA expects to invest $49 billion in ballistic missile defense development and fielding over the next five years.

Two operational interceptor missiles are currently based at Vandenberg and there are 11 deployed at Fort Greely, Alaska.

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