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June 23, 2006
Navy Missile Intercept Test A Success

The Navy conducted a successful missile test yesterday that has implications for the current standoff with North Korea. The defense system intercepted a medium-range test missile near its apogee after booster separation:

A Navy ship intercepted a medium-range missile warhead above the earth's atmosphere off Hawaii in the latest test of the U.S. missile defense program, the military said Thursday.

The military had initially scheduled the test for Wednesday but postponed the drill after a small craft ventured into a zone that had been blocked off for the event.

The USS Shiloh detected a medium-range target after it was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, then fired a Standard Missile-3 interceptor.

The interceptor shot down the target warhead after it separated from its rocket booster, more than 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean and 250 miles northwest of Kauai, the Missile Defense Agency said in a statement.

This is the second successful test of the system against multi-stage rockets, and it couldn't have come at a better time. North Korea wants to engage in some high-stakes extortion games with its Taepodong-2 missile, assuming that the US has no ready response. The missile defense system may or may not be ready for a live-fire response, but if it comes to it, we can at least make a credible attempt to shoot it down -- and that would sink Kim Jong-Il's threat level from acute to irritant, and he knows it.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 23, 2006 11:06 AM

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