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US Missile Defense System Completes Successful Test

US Missile Defense System Completes Successful Test

A United States-built missile defense system on Tuesday successfully intercepted its target during a test run, the US Missile Defense Agency said.

The Senate-proposed US defense budget bill for next year calls for further strengthening the alliance with South Korea, including through the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system, congressional records showed Tuesday.

The THAAD system in Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in Kodiak then detected, tracked and intercepted the target.

The agency says today's successful THAAD intercept was conducted using procedures they'd undertake in real combat conditions, but that is impossible.

Though these tests have roughly coincided with a period of heavy North Korean ballistic missile testing, including last week's North Korean launch of an ICBM for the first time, the Agency had been scheduled to carry out these tests in the 2017 fiscal year for some time.

THAAD is strictly a defense system, capable of rapidly deploying in order to intercept ballistic missiles inside or outside the atmosphere during the final and terminal phase of flight.

In the wake of the ICBM test, the U.S. military and intelligence communities began to take a second look at the latest intelligence about North Korea's nuclear warhead program, according to two United States defense officials.

Lockheed Martin is the primary defense contractor for the THAAD program.

The bad news? THAAD is now only able to intercept missiles flying in from an intermediate range or below, which would not do much to stop an ICBM like the one tested by North Korea earlier this month. These three countries say THAAD is threatening an arms race.

This system is created to shoot down ballistic missiles with short, medium or intermediate-range but not the intercontinental missiles of the type tested by Pyonggang last week and which experts say could reach Alaska.

China and Russian Federation both fear the system's advanced radar could be used to peer into their own territory.

Chris Johnson, MDA Dir. of Public Affairs, said Tuesday morning that he couldn't comment much further on details of the intercept.

The Moon has suspended the use of THAAD in the expectation of an environmental impact assessment.

While the Pentagon called the test a success, some experts cautioned that the $40 billion missile defense system still has a long way to go before it can be considered fully developed.