US shoots down ballistic missile in test amid recent North Korean provocations

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency announced Wednesday that it successfully shot down a medium-range ballistic missile off the coast of Hawaii in a new test of its missile defense system at sea.

The USS John Paul Jones, a guided-missile destroyer successfully launched an SM-6 interceptor missile to shoot down the target.

This test comes after a previous failed test in June from the same warship.

“We are working closely with the fleet to develop this important new capability, and this was a key milestone in giving our Aegis BMD ships an enhanced capability to defeat ballistic missiles in their terminal phase,” MDA Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves said in a statement. “We will continue developing ballistic missile defense technologies to stay ahead of the threat as it evolves.”

The ship detected and tracked a target missile launched from Kauai, Hawaii, “with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar, and onboard SM-6 missiles executed the intercept,” the statement read.

The test comes after North Korea fired a ballistic missile from its capital Pyongyang that flew over Japan before plunging into the northern Pacific Ocean on Tuesday, an aggressive test-flight over the territory of a close U.S. ally that sends a clear message of defiance as Washington and Seoul conduct war games nearby.

Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile traveled around 1,677 miles and reached a maximum height of 341 miles as it flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

President Trump offered a surprisingly subdued response Tuesday, pulling back from his administration’s recent suggestions of a dialogue with the communist country but also avoiding a repeat of his bombastic warnings earlier this month of a potential military confrontation.

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