National Security

U.S. Missile Defense System Completes Successful Test

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The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system was able to shoot down a target over Alaska during a test-run Tuesday, according to a news release published by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

The THAAD system was able to successfully intercept the target during the test-run, although a Department of Defense official told CNN that the test over Alaska was not related to the recent North Korea intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch.

This system targets and shoots down short, medium, and intermediate ballistic missiles—all of which have shorter ranges than the North Korean ICBM that was launched on July 4.

Escalation of Pyongyang's nuclear program has spurred U.S. motivation in assessing the effectiveness of the missile defense systems in the U.S. and allied countries.

Earlier this year, much to the opposition of China, Russia, and North Korea, the U.S. military deployed the THAAD system to South Korea. These three countries say THAAD is threatening an arms race.

"I couldn't be more proud of the government and contractor team who executed this flight test today," said Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves.

"This test further demonstrates the capabilities of the THAAD weapon system and its ability to intercept and destroy ballistic missile threats," Greaves said.

This successful intercept was the 14th of 14 attempts for the THAAD weapon system.